ORGANIC farmer Steve Marsh's lawyers have lodged a claim in the Supreme Court after his farm was contaminated with GM material.
The writ was lodged today in Western Australia seeks to recover loss and damage allegedly caused by genetically modified canola from a neighbouring farm.
Mr Marsh, from Kojonup, WA, lost his organic certification and income after the contamination affected about 70 per cent of his farm in late 2010.
Slater & Gordon, practice group leader Mark Walter said Mr Marsh was seeking damages and a permanent injunction to protect his farm from future contamination.
The claim alleges the canola seed was blown on to Mr Marsh's property before harvest.
"At the moment Mr Marsh has no protection against contamination unless he seeks an order of the court. It's unfortunate that this is necessary, but it must be done if Mr Marsh is able to protect his farm and livelihood," Mr Walter said.
"This is a big step; no one wants to be suing their neighbour, especially in a farming community. However once the full extent of the ongoing losses was clear Mr Mrash really had no choice but to go to court."
The Safe Food Foundation today released a statement saying it was co-ordinating fundraising efforts for the legal battle.
"Steve has been deluged with offers of help since news of his story broke," The Safe Food Foundation director Scott Kinnear said.
"The Safe Food Foundation has taken on the coordination of fundraising as a major project in support of Steve and the right of farmers everywhere to grow GM-free foods; which ultimately equals consumers' right to buy and eat GM-free foods and to avoid potentially dangerous toxic GM foods.
"We believe that Steve Marsh's case is the tip of the iceberg and that unless stopped, Australia will follow Canada and North America's dangerous lead, where there is virtually no GM-free canola available and GM residues are commonly contaminating non-GM grain crops.
"We suggest farmers considering GM canola for this year, should reconsider their plans until this case has resolved the issue of contamination and common law responsibilities. If this case fails, then there will be no turning back the GM tide as contamination sweeps through our food supply," Mr Kinnear said.