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Groups Oppose Biotech Wheat

Groups from Canada, the United States and Australia issued a June 1 statement rejecting genetically engineered wheat in response to a pitch by industry lobbyists for commercial development of biotech wheat.

“We restate our definitive opposition to GE wheat and our commitment to stopping the commercialization of GE traits in our wheat crops,” said the coalition representing six groups in Canada, four each in the U. S. and Australia, and Greenpeace International.

Their reaction was in response to a May 14 statement from nine pro-GM wheat organizations, also from Canada, the U. S. and Australia.

The wheat groups, including Grain Growers of Canada, Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association and Alberta Winter Wheat Producers Commission, outlined six reasons why, in their view, the world’s farmers need GM wheat.

The anti-GM wheat coalition, which includes the National Farmers Union and the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, calls each argument false and misleading.

According to Monsanto, the controversy over Roundup Ready wheat is moot; the company has abandoned wheat research to focus on its other GM crops: corn, canola, soybeans and cotton.

Spokesman Trish Jordan said if Monsanto returned to its wheat program, it would focus on traits other than herbicide resistance, such as yield, drought tolerance and nitrogen use, said Jordan, noting it would take eight to 10 years to have a variety ready for commercial release.

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