NETWORK of Concerned Farmers Victorian spokesman and Minimay farmer Geoffrey Carracher is concerned about a proposed genetically-modified wheat trial in Horsham.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries plans to trial genetically modified wheat from November this year.
The department has applied to the Office of Gene Technology Regulator for a two-hectare trial of wheat modified for increased yield stability and improved drought tolerance.
Mr Carracher said no-one in the world wanted to buy GM wheat.
“People don’t want something that could come back and haunt them as a health problem,” he said.
Mr Carracher said he was against the trial because no-one knew what the results would be.
“There has been contamination of GM wheat with other crops, especially in America,” he said.
In May, a GM wheat contamination in the United States shut down wheat exports to Japan and Korea.
Mr Carracher said there had been no GM wheat feeding trials on humans.
“It could have adverse effects on people,” he said.
He said previous developments of GM canola had damaged the market.
“There is a discounted price for that now and in some places it is unsellable,” he said.
“The modified canola sells for $60 a tonne less than regular canola but costs more to grow because the seeds are dearer.
“I don’t believe GM is the way we should be going – Australia has always had a clean and green image and the world was our market.
“With the introduction of GM canola it stopped some of our marketing because people don’t want to be contaminated.”
Mr Carracher said the risks of GM wheat were unknown because of lack of feeding trials.
“In pigs it has had adverse health effects and the same thing could happen in humans,” he said.
“Trials were done on GM peas and the CSIRO put a bean gene in the peas and it affected the immune system of rats.
“Long-term feeding trials have to be done before it is safe to eat.”
The trial in Horsham will be in outdoor paddocks.
“There are problems with trialling it outdoors because of grain spillage,” Mr Carracher said.
He said there were also issues with contamination.
“With GM canola, it was a hell of a problem because seeds could travel up to two or three kilometres and contaminate non-GM crops,” he said.
The Horsham trial is proposed between November 2013 and December 2015.
A Department of Environment and Primary Industries spokesman said the GM wheat would not be permitted in human food or animal feed.