CWB opposes GM wheat

by Emily Wilson
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The Canadian Wheat Board has joined forces with several farm, consumer and environmental groups in Canada to ask the federal government to halt the approval of GM wheat in that country until the concerns of farmers, consumers, and buyers of Canadian wheat are addressed.

U.S.-based biotech company Monsanto Co. plans to introduce the world’s first genetically modified wheat, known as "Roundup Ready," a herbicide-tolerant spring wheat variety, between 2003 and 2005.

But at a time when many of Canada’s wheat customers in Europe and Asia are demanding GM-free certification, the Canadian grain industry is especially nervous about the ability and cost of segregating GM and non-GM crops.

Canada is one of the largest wheat producers and exporters in the world, shipping about 12 million tonnes worth between C$3 billion and C$5 billion annually.

Patty Rosher, market development program manager with the Canadian Wheat Board, which controls all of Canada’s wheat, durum and barley exports, told a news organization that the world is looking at the GM issue "from fresh eyes" and added that Canada also needed to review its variety registration system and regulations "and think about the fact that it is new technology and we may need to make a change."