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GM Contamination Register
Incident details
Region/Continent and country:
Oceania / Australia
Category of incident:
What was contaminated:
Feral populations
GM organism involved:
Oilseed rape/canola
Year incident occurred:

Route of contamination

Australia - survey finds feral oilseed rape.

In October 2012, the Western Australian Conservation Council reported on findings of feral GM oilseed rape along roadsides.

Roundup Ready GM Canola growing was authorised for commercial cultivation in Western Australia in 2010. But some counties such as Williams Shire have declared themselves a GM free farming zone.

In August 2011 a truck spilled 15 tonnes of GM Canola on the Albany Highway approximately 10 km north of the town. This spill was cleaned up by an independent contractor and the spill site was sprayed to kill any Canola plants (McCauley et al. 2012).

In order to assess the exposure of the Williams non-GM Canola hub to roadside contamination from fugitive GM Canola plants a survey was conducted on 6 October 2012 along a 10km stretch of Albany Highway between Williams and the 2011 spill site. The survey was conducted by the Conservation Council (WA) Citizen Science Program and GM Cropwatch and followed a similar roadside survey conducted in the Esperance Shire in 2011.

The tests revealed that thirty-three (62.2%) of the 53 feral Canola plants sampled on Albany Highway north of Williams were genetically modified for Roundup resistance.

Positive specimens were found all along the surveyed length of road but with particularly high concentration occurring within 2.5 km of the Williams´┐Ż town-site (or 7.5 km south of the 2011 truck spill).

Follow the links below for full details of the study.

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Further information

16 October: Fugitive GM Canola Study A SURVEY OF ROADSIDE FUGITIVE GM (ROUNDUP READY) CANOLA PLANTS AT WILLIAMS, WESTERN AUSTRALIA Conservation Council (WA) Citizen Science Program >

McCauley,R., Davies,M. & Wyntje A. (2012). The step-wise approach to adoption of genetically modified (GM) Canola in Western Australia. Journal of Agrobiotechnology Management & Economics 15 (1) Article 8. >

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