Monsanto Bows to Pressure on GE Wheat

Delay Is Seen for Genetically Modified Wheat
July 31, 2002
New York Times

Monsanto has pulled back from its stated timeline for
bringing the first genetically modified wheat to market by
2005, company spokesmen said yesterday.

The company, based in St. Louis, is not acknowledging that
the crop will be delayed. But it is no longer stating a
timetable, saying only that it will bring the crop to
market after it meets certain goals, like building demand
for the product and devising a system for segregating the
genetically engineered wheat from other wheat.

The new position reflects the difficulty the company has
been having in winning acceptance for the crop. Wheat
millers in Japan and Europe, large markets for American
wheat, say they do not want the genetically modified
product. And some American farmers fear that genetically
engineered wheat will be mixed in with other wheat, hurting
exports in general.

In a speech at a meeting on Monday of U.S. Wheat
Associates, a trade organization that promotes exports, the
head of a large Italian wheat miller said his company would
"stop buying U.S. or Canadian wheat at once" if genetically
modified wheat were introduced.

A spokesman for Monsanto, Mark Buckingham, said the company
was planning to file this year for regulatory approval of
Roundup Ready wheat, which has a gene that allows it to
withstand the company's Roundup herbicide. But he said that
Monsanto would not introduce the product until it had
"industry acceptance across the board," which will take
more time.

Genetically engineered crops that have already reached the
market - mainly soybeans, corn and cotton - continue to
gain in popularity among farmers. But concerns about
consumer resistance are making it hard for any new
genetically engineered crop to gain a foothold among

Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company

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