Tasmanian beekeepers apparently unaware of the risks involved in projects with Monsanto and Aventis are facing potential ruin amid fears that their bees are contaminated with genetically engineered canola pollen.

The two major agribusinesses convinced many beekeepers to place their hives close to GE-canola crops in a bid to facilitate pollination and increase production. The problem has now been raised following findings in Europe that honey can be contaminated with GE pollen. Health Minister Michael Wooldridge will investigate the situation after a report is prepared, and speculation as to the future for the beekeepers is rife.

Family and Community Services Minister Amanda Vanstone insisted that risks of contamination are negligible and the situation had not become a crisis.

Others do not agree. Bob Brown, Australian Greens senator, spoke of a rural crop crisis and appealed for help from federal government.

"It is a big concern and it is an appalling situation that could compromise these [producers'] livelihoods," explained Peg Putt from Greens MHA.  For many the mere association with GE contamination is enough to give the kiss of death to producers.

Putt called for the agribusiness giants at the centre of the situation to foot the bill for the necessary tests on Tasmanian honey.