Karinne Ludlow
Monash University, Australia

Australia, Canada, and the United States all allow GM crops to be released into the open environment. In all three jurisdictions, non-adopters of GM crops claim they can no longer choose to be non-adopters. The issue of whether there is a right to choose how to farm that is protected by law is left to the courts in the three jurisdictions. This article considers whether GM-adopting farmers and those creating or distributing GM seeds could be liable to non-adopters for pure economic loss in the three jurisdictions and, thus, whether such a right exists. The study finds that there is unlikely to be liability in the United States, but that liability is theoretically possible in Australia and Canada. It concludes that it is in the interests of all that this policy issue be responded to by government rather than the courts.

Key words: Agricultural biotechnology, compensation, economic injury, liability, GM crops, GMOs, negligence.