Montréal, Ottawa, Washington, Canberra - Farmers, consumers and civil society organizations in Australia, Canada and the U.S. released a joint statement confirming their collective commitment to stop commercialization of genetically engineered (GE) wheat. (1) In 2004, global pressure prevented biotechnology company Monsanto from pushing GE wheat onto an unwilling market.
The statement "Definitive Global Rejection of
Genetically Engineered Wheat" was released to counter a May 14 "Wheat
Commercialization Statement" from industry lobby groups in the three
countries. (2) The industry pledged to "work toward the goal of
synchronized commercialization of biotech traits in our wheat crops."
Today's statement was released by 15 groups in Australia, Canada and
the US, including the Organic Consumers Association, and counters the
six stated industry arguments in favor of GE wheat.
"GE wheat is
a potential disaster of huge proportions. People do not want GE in
their bread," said Terry Boehm, Vice President of the National Farmers
Union of Canada, "We refuse to allow industry groups to restart any
campaign to commercialize GE wheat."
The group statement centers
on the pledge: "In light of our existing experience with genetic
engineering, and recognizing the global consumer rejection of
genetically engineered wheat, we restate our definitive opposition to
GE wheat and our commitment to stopping the commercialization of GE
traits in our wheat crops."
"Genetic engineering for wheat would
be a calamity for all wheat farmers. Consumers across the world have
already rejected the idea of GE wheat but corporations are intent on
controlling this crop through their gene patents," said Julie Newman of
the Network of Concerned Farmers in Australia.
In 2004, Monsanto
withdrew its applications for approval of GE wheat in Canada and the
U.S., due to intensive consumer and farmer protest. The wheat is
engineered to be tolerant to Monsanto's brand-name herbicide Roundup.
"Monsanto and industry groups in our countries need to abandon their agenda of
forcing GE wheat onto a market that doesn't want or need it," said
Katherine Ozer, Executive Director of the National Family Farm
Coalition in the U.S.
The groups are also asking other
organizations around the world to join them by signing on to the
statement before August 31, 2009 (at www.cban.ca/globalstopGEwheat).
For more information:
Terry Boehm, National Farmers Union, Canada 1 306 255 2880
Julie Newman, Network of Concerned Farmers, Australia, 08 98711562 or 0427 711644
Katherine Ozer, National Family Farm Coalition US (cell) 202 421 4544 or 1 202 543-5675
See www.cban.ca/GEwheat or www.cban.ca/press
The "Definitive Global Rejection of Genetically Engineered Wheat"
statement was signed by the following organizations: National Farmers
Union, Canada; Canadian Biotechnology Action Network; Union Paysanne,
Canada; Union Biologique Paysanne, Canada; Réseau Québécois contre les
OGM, Canada; Saskatchewan Organic Directorate, Canada; Network of
Concerned Farmers, Australia; Organic Federation of Australia;
Biological Farmers of Australia; Greenpeace; Gene Ethics, Australia;
National Family Farm Coalition, USA; Western Organization of Resource
Councils, USA; Center for Food Safety, USA; Organic Consumers
(2) The industry "Wheat Commercialization Statement" can be viewed at www.cban.ca/wheat
OCA Rejects Monsanto's Genetically Engineered Wheat
Monsanto's Genetically Engineered Wheat Rejected Globally
Groups Respond to Industry Plans for GE Wheat
Australian, Canadian and US Farmer, Environmental and Consumer Organizations, June 1, 2009
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