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Compensation for GMO contamination

Paull, John (2018) Compensation for GMO contamination. International Sustainable Development Research Society Newsletter, no. 3. International Sustainable Development Research Society.

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PDF - Published Version - English
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.


Document available online at: http://isdrs.org


A Parliamentary Inquiry was launched in Western Australia (WA) in December 2017 into how to compensate farmers for economic loss due to contamination by genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The Inquiry was prompted by the Marsh v Baxter case. In May 2010, Michael Baxter planted Monsanto’s Roundup Ready GM canola at his farm near Kojonup in the wheat-belt of WA. Next door, farming 477 hectares, were organic farmers Steve and Sue Marsh. GM canola blew over the Marsh farm. The Marsh farm lost its organic certification due to GM contamination. Marsh sued Baxter for damages - the loss of the organic premium. The damages were agreed between the parties at A$85,000. In a protracted legal battle the legal fees amounted to more than A$2 million. Marsh lost the case. Baxter's legal fees were paid by Monsanto, and costs were awarded against Marsh. Marsh v Baxter was an expensive exercise to create the precedent that there is no protection in common law against contamination by GMOs. An important aspect of the Marsh v Baxter case is that there was no proportionality between the actual damages sustained and the legal costs of pursuing recovery - in this case ultimately without success. This Inquiry is ongoing and it is expected to report in early 2019.

EPrint Type:Report
Subjects: Values, standards and certification > Assessment of impacts and risks
Farming Systems > Social aspects
Environmental aspects
Knowledge management
Values, standards and certification > Regulation
Research affiliation:Australia > University of Tasmania
Deposited By: Paull, Dr John
ID Code:33919
Deposited On:10 Oct 2018 13:00
Last Modified:10 Oct 2018 13:00
Document Language:English
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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