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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
    Straight to the Source

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).

ENDS

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

(1) 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 Association, USA.

(2) The industry "Wheat Commercialization Statement" can be viewed at www.cban.ca/wheat



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