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  • Grenfell Tower, image source: Kentish, 2017

    GMOs: the wisdom of crowds & the folly of deregulation

  • GMOs: the wisdom of crowds & the folly of deregulation

    Dr John Paull j.paull@utas.edu.au

    image source: Kentish, 2017

    Parliamentary Forum: GMOs: Regulation or Deregulation Parliament House Canberra 30 July 2019

    mailto:j.paull@utas.edu.au?subject=

  • Parliament of Australia, 2019.

    These regulations: * water down the definition of GMOs * have Australia going it alone in the world * risk damaging Australian food and agriculture

    The push to deregulate some GMOs

  • CANE TOADS Pest

    Invasive species Bad Science

    SMH, 2019, Weber, 2010

    “Could a mistake like the cane toad fiasco happen again?”

  • New York Times, 2017

    Bad Deregulation

  • “This is the biggest threat to food and agriculture

    that we have ever faced”

    Feedback…

    Why?

  • “It is a totally daft idea”

    Feedback…

    Why?

  • World GMOs (ha)

    0%

    20%

    40%

    60%

    80%

    100%

    Australia Rest World

    99.6%

    0.4%

    data sources: ABCA, 2019, Cotton Australia, 2019, ISAAA, 2018.

  • Australian GMOs (ha)

    data sources: ABCA, 2019, ABS, 2018, Cotton Australia, 2019

    0%

    20%

    40%

    60%

    80%

    100%

    GMO Agriculture Non-GMO Agriculture

    99.8%

    0.2%

  • G M

    -fr ee

    is im

    po rt

    an t

    0%

    15%

    30%

    45%

    60%

    N et

    he rla

    nd s

    U K

    B el

    gi um

    A us

    tr al

    ia

    Ja pa

    n

    C an

    ad a

    U SA

    A rg

    en tin

    a

    G er

    m an

    y

    So ut

    h K

    or ea

    B ra

    zi l

    Fr an

    ce

    R us

    si a

    Sp ai

    n

    Ita ly

    M ex

    ic o

    C hi

    na

    60%

    49%49% 45%45%45%45%

    43%43% 41%

    37%37%36% 33%32%31%

    28%

    data source: GfK, 2017; n=23,000

    Food shoppers don’t want GMOs

  • Wuhan, China, photo: J Paull

    Chinese shoppers want clean & green

  • Australian Agriculture (ha)

    data sources: ABCA, 2019, ABS, 2018, Cotton Australia, 2019, Willer & Lernoud, 2019

    0%

    20%

    40%

    60%

    80%

    100%

    GMO Ag Organic Ag Rest Ag

    91%

    8.8% 0.2%

  • Australian Supermarkets

    0%

    20%

    40%

    60%

    80%

    100%

    GMO Food Non-GMO Food

    100%

    0%

  • World Organics (ha)

    Willer & Lernoud, 2019, Paull, 2019a

    0%

    5%

    10%

    15%

    20%

    25%

    30%

    35%

    40%

    45%

    50%

    55%

    Australia Rest World

    49%51%

    * Zero tolerance for GMOs * 22% growth pa for past 5 years

  • OGTR oversight of GMOs Office of the Gene Technology Regulator

    Withdrawn

    Rejected

    Approved

    0 40 80 120 160

    155

    0

    12

    167 Applications (2001-2019)

    data source: OGTR, 2019

  • N um

    be r o

    f G M

    tr ia

    l s ite

    s w

    ith ro

    gu e

    ca no

    la p

    la nt

    s

    0

    5

    10

    15

    20

    25

    30

    35

    40

    45 A

    pr 2

    00 1

    Fe b

    20 02

    O ct

    2 00

    2

    Ju n

    20 03

    Fe b

    20 04

    O ct

    2 00

    4

    O ct

    /N ov

    2 00

    5

    M ay

    2 00

    6

    Ja n/

    Fe b

    20 07

    O ct

    2 00

    7

    M ay

    2 00

    8

    Fe b/

    M ar

    2 00

    9

    N ov

    2 00

    9

    M ay

    2 01

    0

    Fe b

    20 11

    N ov

    2 01

    1

    M ay

    2 01

    2

    M ar

    ch 2

    01 3

    N ov

    2 01

    3

    M ay

    2 01

    4

    M ay

    2 01

    5

    Fe b/

    M ar

    2 01

    6

    44

    28

    19

    23

    17

    13

    18

    22

    2928

    24

    29

    5

    12 15

    9 121213

    8 10

    12 10

    8

    13

    9

    19

    10

    6 7 7 9

    4 4 3 4 4

    16

    3 1

    6 6 8

    6

    Rogue GMOs in Tasmania - 2 decades

    data source: DPIPWE, 2016 et al

  • C om

    m un

    ity A

    tti tu

    de s

    %

    0%

    10%

    20%

    30%

    40%

    50%

    60%

    70%

    Not safe Don't Know Safe

    10%

    22%

    68%

    Australians say GMOs “not safe”

    data source: Cormick & Mercer, 2017; n=1225

  • Pr ic

    e pe

    r t on

    ne

    A$450

    A$475

    A$500

    A$525

    A$550

    A$575

    2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19

    Non GM canola (Albany) Non GM canola (Kwinana) GM canola (Albany) GM canola (Kwinana)

    data source: CBH,2019, graph: Paull, 2019b

    Price Penalty for GM Canola = 7.2%

    7.2%

  • Canola Grade

    Marketing Description

    Specified Characteristics Fair Description

    CAN “Non GM Canola”

    “Certified GM free to Maximum adventitious presence of 0.9% GMO. Suitable for Human Consumption and Biodiesel production. ISCC EU Certified”.

    Canola with GM contamination ⩽0.9%

    CAG “Canola” “Suitable for Human Consumption and Biodiesel production. ISCC EU Certified”.

    GM Canola

    Ghost GMOs in WA

    after: Paull, 2019b

  • G M

    C an

    ol a

    W A

    %

    10%

    15%

    20%

    25%

    2014 2015 2016 2017

    19%

    24% 23%

    18%

    GM canola in WA % - decline

    data source: Bucat, 2019

  • C ot

    to n

    (H ec

    ta re

    s)

    0 ha

    100,000 ha

    200,000 ha

    300,000 ha

    400,000 ha

    500,000 ha

    600,000 ha

    19 96

    /9 7

    19 97

    /9 8

    19 98

    /9 9

    19 99

    /0 0

    20 00

    /0 1

    20 01

    /0 2

    20 02

    /0 3

    20 03

    /0 4

    20 04

    /0 5

    20 05

    /0 6

    20 06

    /0 7

    20 07

    /0 8

    20 08

    /0 9

    20 09

    /1 0

    20 10

    /1 1

    20 11

    /1 2

    20 12

    /1 3

    20 13

    /1 4

    20 14

    /1 5

    20 15

    /1 6

    20 16

    /1 7

    20 17

    /1 8

    20 18

    /1 9

    GMO cotton - Australia - erratic

    data source: Cotton Australia, 2019

  • The lie that underpins the GMO industry:

    Regulators “same”

    Patent Office “novel, unique,

    different, a real invention”

    Substantial Equivalence

    Paull, 2008

  • Baxter GMO 900 ha

    Marsh Organic

    477 ha

    Common boundary

    GM

    canola

    GM

    canola

    ✗ ✗ ✗

    ✗ ✗ ✗

    Author’s annotations after Supreme Court WA, 2015, Marsh v Baxter

    non-GM

    canola

    2010 @ Kojonup, WA

  • What is Genetic Engineering?

    Genetic Engineering is what genetic engineers do

  • Is it a GMO?

    • From a GM lab • By a GM engineer • Published in a GM journal • Patented life form

  • A phenomenon of the times - the distrust of

    ‘experts’

    Monsanto Cargill Syngenta Bayer BASF Dow CSIRO UQ QUT RMIT Murdoch Uni U Adelaide UWA Sugar Research Aust VicDEDJTR VicDPI

    >Profits >Budget

    People Parents Workers Voters Shoppers Consumers

    >Health >Well being >Family >Safety >Cuisine

    GMO applicants source: OGTR, 2019

  • GMO Smugglers Delusion

    1. We can smuggle GMOs into the Australian supply chain

    2. They’ll never know

    3. They’ll never find out

    Oh yes they will!

  • GMO Triple Jeopardy

    1. Not regulated

    2. Not declared

    3. Law of unintended consequences

  • GMO Exceptionalism

    5 new techniques

    50 new techniques coming

  • Thomas Malthus - inventing catastrophism & wrong since 1798

    after Malthus, 1798

    Ge om

    etr ic

    Arithm etic

    Food

    Population

    Famine

  • The push to deregulate some GMOs

    Disallow these regulations: *to avoid watering down the definition of GMOs *to avoid going it alone in the world *to avoid damaging Australian food and agriculture

  • Summary 1. Bad science (e.g cane toads, asbestos, smoking, Fukushima et al) 2. Bad deregulation (e.g Grenfell Tower, Lacrosse Apartments) 3. Only 2 crop