Local food and health advocacy group, GM-free Nillumbik (GMFN) will officially launch their campaign to declare the shire of Nillumbik a GM-free zone with a public forum in Eltham on October 20.
As the Manningham-Nillumbik Green Map coordinator I was recently contacted by one passionate lady – Sandra Verdam from outlying Cottlesbridge – in Melbourne’s outer NE Green Wedge. Sandra and her husband are relative newcomers, arriving from Holland 4 years ago. Sandra joined the Hurstbridge Sow and Grow Gardening Club – she is now the president – and it was here she learned about GM dangers.
Sandra thoroughly enjoyed the friendship and activities of the Gardening Club. It was here she heard a talk about GM by Professor Roger Parish, Head of Life Sciences at La Trobe Uni, and Greg Revell from nearby Warrandyte who works as a volunteer for Gene Ethics.
Now quite horrified that the ‘penny hadn’t dropped’ earlier Sandra quite readily admits that as a subscriber to the Diggers’ Club Catalogue she had often noticed articles on GM but had ignored them as she didn’t really know anything about the issue.
Sound familiar in a busy complex world?
This new group has already run a large community info meeting – with over 100 people attending – and they are planning another info night in neighbouring Eltham on 20 October 2008. They need heaps of people to attend to help convince the Shire to act!
1. Given a growing body of evidence on adverse health and environmental concerns with GM foods GMFN is asking Nillumbik Shire to consider declaring their region GM free along with:
2. GM food will apparently not be labelled – GMFN would like this situation addressed as people are otherwise denied choice.
3. GMFN wants to inform people about the lack of long term testing, the toxins, allergic reactions and the use of antibiotic resistant genes.
“The forum in Eltham on the 20th October is a great opportunity for the community to learn about the future of their food. We have a great lineup of expert speakers including health professionals and food industry leaders so its sure to be a very informative evening on this most pressing of issues.”
When: Monday 20 October 2008
Where: Eltham Community & Reception Centre, 801 Main Rd, Eltham
Donation: Gold coin please
Earlier this year, the Victorian government lifted the five-year ban on Genetically Modified (GM) food and crops, allowing in the first instance the commerical growing of GM canola. GM canola is genetically modifed to withstand a powerful herbicide.
Health and consumer groups like GMFN are concerned that there has been little or no independent testing on GM foods despite growing evidence of health concerns from independent researchers.
GMFN spokesperson, Greg Revell says:
“Along with many other health and consumer groups around Australia, we are concerned that GM foods are being approved as safe based on tests supplied by the biotech companies who stand to profit from GM crops. Clearly this is conflict of interest.”
Dr. Barbara Hoare will be one of the guest speakers at the GM-Free Nillumbik forum. She too shares GMFN’s concerns.
“In one CSIRO study, a gene from a bean was inserted into a pea. It caused allergic reactions including lung damage in mice, yet mice fed natural peas had no reactions. In light of these findings I am appalled that most GM foods will not be labelled. Consumers demand the right to know whats in their food.”
Good luck GMFN – PWF will report on your progress