Wednesday May 28 2014



The future of organic and non GM food in Australia is uncertain after a WA farmer today lost his legal battle with a neighbouring farmer.

Steve Marsh lost organic certification on his Kojonup farm – and most of his livelihood – when his farm was contaminated by GM canola. He sued his neighbour in the WA Supreme Court for his losses, and to protect his farm into the future.

The court in its judgment stated the decision by NASAA (National Association of Sustainable Agriculture Australia) to decertify Steve was erroneous. Given the extent of the contamination of Steve’s farm we fail to see how NASAA could have taken any other decision. Certainly 100% of organic consumers would support the NASAA decision.

Because the court did not recognise the NASAA decertification the court did not recognise the economic loss Steve suffered, and dismissed the case that Steve had brought for negligence and nuisance.

Scott Kinnear, director of the Safe Food Foundation, says he is very disappointed and gravely concerned for Steve Marsh and his family and their farm and for the future of organic and non GM food in Australia remaining GM free.

“This is a huge setback for organic and Non GM farmers and their choice to remain GM Free.”

“This has been an important test case, of interest to many parties, locally and globally.

“If Steve on legal advice chooses to take this case further, the Safe Food Foundation will continue to work to legally protect the rights of Australian consumers to buy organic produce free of GM.”

“We also call on our legislators to work on finding a solution to this vexed issue. State and Federal governments have continuously stated that the solution to any GM contamination events is common law. This has clearly failed today and demonstrates that the law has not kept up with new technologies such as GM.”

“We thank Steve Marsh who has risked his farm to make a stand for all of us, a move that demonstrated his courage, tenacity and integrity.”

Mr Kinnear also thanked Slater & Gordon and the many people and businesses in more than 30 countries who contributed amounts large and small to this landmark case, but warned them that the battle may not be over.

While law firm Slater & Gordon donated its legal services, other costs were provided through a unique crowd-sourced funding campaign organised by the Safe Food Foundation.

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More information

Scott Kinnear, director, Safe Food Foundation           0419 881 729              www.safefoodfoundation.org


  • Robyn May 28, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Thank-you for trying …


  • Rohan Arnold May 28, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Please appeal and let common sense rein. Who wants to eat GM foods – NOT ME!!!



  • Barbara Michalik May 28, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    This is awful. I feel so sorry for him and his family.


  • Phillip Hilton May 28, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    It is the duty of our legislators to protect its citizens. Time and again it has been proven, scientifically that GMOs are detrimental to both the health of the land and to the consumer.
    Where is the responsibility of those in charge to allow a modified genetic organism to be allowed in our environment without the proper testing and certification to say that it is a safe substance and poses no threat to either the local fauna, flora or human inhabitants.
    Or that it can be controlled and not impair on other natural organics.
    Common sense needs to prevail, bugger the complexities of the language of law. A GMO substance encroached and contaminated a neighboring crop.
    Obviously the owner has suffered financial loss, because quite simply, his organic crop was contaminated. Changes to the law need to made, post haste, to protect the innocent.


  • Jodi James May 28, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    Please appeal!!!! 3 judges and a jury better than one!


  • Selvam May 28, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Really sad one. It is a blow to organic/ sustainable farming.


  • Diablo James May 28, 2014 at 10:32 pm


    What can we do to help?


    • SFF June 2, 2014 at 11:31 am

      Hi Diablo, thanks for your offer of help. We are waiting on Steve and his lawyers to decide if he will appeal. Fingers crossed. Then we will send out a call to action.


  • Maryann Harvey May 28, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Perhaps a collection can be taken up to help this family before the case is taken back to court?


  • Kathleen May 28, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    A very sad day indeed.


  • Miriam Farrington May 28, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    It might have been an accident, and not intended, but the fact remains that Steve Marsh’s crop WAS contaminated.
    in urban areas we can force changes to a neighbour intending to build a structure that would block sunlight, or have an overhanging tree removed. same principle.
    It is the law that is wrong, for this to happen to Steve Marsh.
    The neighbour should have to keep his crops within the bounds of his own property at all times, if this means a safe distance from his fence line, then that’s what it should be.


  • Susan Russell May 28, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    Makes no sense at all, was the Judge paid by Monsanto? This case must go on, the judgement is not right, keep fighting for what is right Steve/ Slater & Gordon do not give up!


  • Thomas Gilbert May 29, 2014 at 3:20 am

    I am a raw foods organic vegan, so my curiosity in this case is more than trifle. Did the lawyers representing Mr. Marsh ever consider using the United States Case of Erin Brokovich against P.G. & E with their contamination of the ground water in Hinkley California with Hexavalent Chromium as a back drop for the GMO contamination of Mr. Marsh’s organic farm? Although the parallels might not be exact, there may be legal precedent here that could help with the case when it goes to appeal. Blessings and Namaste, TG


  • Archie May 29, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    I CANNOT believe this decision! I know “MONEY” speaks all languages,I wonder how many shares in MONSANTO you would have to have to be heard?


  • Gloria Heather May 30, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    So disappointed & much respect to you all


  • Western Australia Supreme Court Declares: “Coexistence” With GMOs Is Impossible | Volatility May 31, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    […] for the supreme court of the state of Western Australia has issued a summary judgement against Steve Marsh, an organic farmer whose certification was revoked when his land was trespassed upon and his soil […]


  • Edit June 1, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Very sad! It’s a slap on everybody’s faces who don’t want to eat GMO food!


  • Peter Gardiner June 1, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    So! Big Brother wins again, sorry to hear this Steve Marsh


  • Kelly Barrett June 8, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    The verdict is ridiculous and I really hope they are able to keep going. Steve and his family must be exhausted from all of this stress and how are they surviving financially with a much smaller usable piece of land? It would be great to do crowd funding to buy more land, but that wouldn’t solve the fact that GMO crops are continually infecting crops. I feel so sad for Steve and his family.


  • Sunnie Sciascia June 12, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Please do not give up, my family will stand behind you all the way. Never give up, if there is a petition to sign make sure I have the opertunity to sign it. Well done !!!


  • Melissa June 15, 2014 at 11:38 am

    and Justice is not served!


  • sonia June 23, 2014 at 9:19 am

    im happy to rally a group of support behind you if you were to appeal… also i wonder if its worth setting up a fund for other farmers in future similar situations. even if they cant win., they can at least demonstrate to monsanto that marketing in australia will be difficutl and expensive. ive heard of some terrible pressure tactics theuy use int he us and our australian farmers have had enough to contend with without that as well.
    keep us up to date – ive signed up for th enews letter.


  • Sonja August 8, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    A travesty of justice! Makes me wonder if someone got to the judge.


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