Steve Marsh continues his GM case in the Australian Court of Appeal.

stevemarshSteve Marsh, the Australian farmer is continuing his fight against (GM) land in the court of appeal. Marsh made waves when he sued his neighbor, Michael Baxter, for contaminating his organic farm with crops.

The basis of Marsh’s lawsuit was that he lost his highly priced organic certification due to the sowing practices of his neighbor resulting in GM canola of his crop. Marsh was claiming economic damages as a direct result of the GM which resulted in the loss of his organic certification by, (National Association of ), NASAA. Baxter has maintained that he complied with GM sowing protocols and bought the seeds from , the world’s largest seed company.

Justice Martin dismissed Steve Marsh’s claim that his land was contaminated by (GM) canola grown by his neighbor. Marsh filed his appeal on the 18th of June and the appeal will be heard in the next six to twelve months before the court of appeal made up of three judges.

The National Association of Sustainable practices has expressed its dissatisfaction with the trial court ruling as Justice Martin found the decertifaction was erroneous as the court found no of GM . In a strongly worded statement the NASAA expressed its support for Marsh and specified that the Court’s decisions not to recognize NASAA’s decertfication as warranted mandated the need for a legislative standard for GM tolerance threshold.

The Australian Safe Foundation is backing Marsh’s appeal and released a statement acknowledging the validity of NASAA’s decertification action and that further legislative action was required.Scott Kinnear from the Safe Foundation commented on the appeal:

“Win or lose, The Safe Foundation believes farmer protection legislation is the appropriate way to sort out these market access issues rather than common law that is expensive, risky and comes at a great individual personal cost. The Safe Foundation strongly supports organic as a far better way to protect the environment in Australia and wants to see its adoption expanded and not curtailed by from GM.”

“The Safe Foundation wants to see legislation that requires GM farmers to meet strict rules designed to stop . In addition a compensation fund paid for by the GM is needed to pay out damages suffered from GM where no individual GM farmer can be identified as being at fault.”

“SFF hopes that the court of appeal will recognize that Steve was owed a duty of care and that NASAA made a valid decision to decertify Steve in the context of a well recognised international system. NASAA operates a system of certification audited by AQIS and complies with an organic standard likewise signed off by AQIS. This system and standard is used by Australia for third party government to government recognition of organic product exported from Australia.”


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