Western Australia has become the first Australian state to ban the commercial growing of genetically modified crops.

Premier Geoff Gallop said the state would be declared a GM-free area in order to protect its “clean and green” reputation, Dow Jones News reported.

“The cautious approach was also reflective of overwhelming public opinion in W.A. and consumer sentiment around the world,” Gallop was quoted as saying. 

Gallop said his government’s pre-election promises included a five-year moratorium on the commercial growing of GM food crops.

“During the past three years, public opinion in W.A. has further strengthened against the intrusion of GM technology into the food chain,” he said.

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The ban only includes growing GM crops for commercial uses, and therefore small field trials will still be permitted.