11 June 1999
Australia backs US over GMs

THE US and Australia found themselves on the same side of the argument over genetically modified (GM) food at yesterdays International Grains Conference.

Richard Rominger, US deputy secretary of agriculture, said Europes food regulatory system was partly to blame for distrust of GM foods.

He said because regulation took place through the 15 member states rather than a single unitary authority the result was a system that was not “open, transparent or predictable”.

He said it took two years or more to clear a biotech product through the European system, as against nine months in the US.

Rominger defended the stance on GM foods by the US, which had approved more than 30 transgenic crops.

Trevor Flugge, chairman of the Australian Wheat Board, was also a supporter of genetic modification.

He emphasised that it would allow crops to be grown without synthetic pesticides.

Other speakers called for the removal of agricultural subsidies and trade barriers.

  • Financial Times 11/06/99 page 30
  • The Daily Telegraph 11/06/99 page 12