UK: Hovis to halt North American wheat shipments if GM version
June 4, 2003
UK flour maker Rank Hovis has said that it would stop using North
American wheat if the US or Canada began commercial planting of
genetically modified varieties of wheat due to fears the biotech
wheat may contaminate non-GM grain during shipment. Hovis Wheat
director Peter Jones said that if large scale opposition to GM food
remained amongst British consumers, Hovis would be forced to import
high-protein grain from countries such as Germany or Australia in
order to avoid contamination by GM wheat. "If in a few years time
the British public still felt the same way about GM when this wheat
might be grown commercially, we wouldn't be able to use it," Jones
told Reuters. "We say that the US and Canada should beware.
They export a lot of grain," Jones added. US industry sources recently
revealed that traces of GM material were managing to enter US wheat
supplies. Jones said Hovis finds the odd piece of soybean or corn
in its North American wheat that may have been genetically modified,
but they are sifted out during processing. GM wheat, however, would
be much more difficult to sift out if it found its way into a shipment
of non-GM wheat.
Wheat from the US and Canada accounts for around 40% of world exports
of wheat. Fearing that Canada could lose its main wheat markets,
the Canadian Wheat Board last week called on Monsanto to withdraw
its application to test GM wheat in Canada.