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Tasmania gets rave reviews for its ban on genetic engineering

(January 22, 2001 – Cropchoice news) – In our November 9 story, GMO-free zones step ahead, Cropchoice talked about areas where you won't find genetically engineered crops. The Australian state of Tasmania, with a one-year-old ban on genetic engineering, is one of the places we highlighted.

The state is a leader in forging GE-free zones. Last week, Peg Rugg, a Green member of parliament, received the thumbs-up for the Tasmanian policy during her trip to Europe for a conference about biotech-free zones. Rugg delivered a speech called, "The fight for a GE-free Tasmania."

The reasons to opt out of genetic engineering are many. But for Tasmania, economics is key. In short, GE-free production makes money for farmers. Export markets, especially Japan and Europe, want food that's free of transgenic organisms. The Tasmanian policy has helped to put its farmers in a good place to take advantage of GE-free premiums.

The state's ban on biotech also extends to crop trials.

"We were warned against allowing crop trials where there is a risk of escape of GE materials such as pollens, as this is the way that bans on GE crops have been undermined elsewhere," Rugg told Farm Progress.

Source: Farm Progress