May 22, 2013
GM wheat is currently not grown or eaten anywhere in the world, it has never been on the market.
In 2004, Monsanto withdrew requests for government approval of its herbicide tolerant GM wheat in Canada and the US because of widespread farmer and consumer protest in both countries, and around the world. However, Monsanto re-launched research into GM wheat in 2009 and the biotechnology industry is now engaged in a new public relations campaign to try and create a climate favorable to the introduction of GM wheat. Monsanto’s new plans for GM wheat are, however, meeting the same strong objections that defeated the company’s product in 2004. The biotech industry is now focusing their efforts in Australia. The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network is working to support our Australian friends and will continue to monitor and campaign on this issue. In early 2010, CBAN coordinated an effort that resulted in 233 groups from 26 countries restating their opposition to GM wheat.
Canada February 15th, 2012, Press Release, National Farmers Union: "GE wheat still a threat, Canadian farmers tell Australia"
Australians want to know why Canadian farmers, processors and citizens in general, worked so hard to keep out genetically engineered (GE) wheat. In the face of ever-growing opposition, Monsanto withdrew its application to sell Round Up Ready wheat in Canada in 2004. As the corporations pushing for GE wheat in Australia are becoming more vocal, two western Canadian farmers, Peter Eggars from Grande Prairie and Matt Gehl from the Regina area, are in Australia until February 21 to explain why we rejected it then, and to explain that GE wheat is still a market-killer.
“As a young farmer, only recently returned to the farm, I have no desire to grow GE wheat, nor do I want my neighbors to grow it. Pollen flow, spillage and the many points where contamination can take place would make it impossible for me to grow GE free wheat. On every level it is a bad idea.” stated Matt Gehl, 27, who farms over 1600 ha.
“We need to get back to basics again, and move away from thinking that new technologies are all good. We need to rediscover nurturing our soils, diversifying our farms and growing foods that people actually want to eat.” says Peter Eggers, 53, who grows beef, lamb and a variety of field crops. “We can feed the world without GE wheat.”
Eggers and Gehl, along with Australian grain farmer Ross Phillis, are visiting Victoria, Canberra, Western Australia, South Australia and New South Wales to bring attention to the threat that GE wheat has upon the global food system and upon the livelihoods of farmers in Australia and globally.
According to Queensland grain farmer Ross Phillis, “Australia relies heavily upon wheat for export revenue, and farmers in Australia need to ensure that international customers keep buying our products. GE wheat, once released into the environment, will contaminate non-GE wheat crops. This will have a huge impact on our farmers, who already frequently suffer from losses due to drought and flood. GE wheat just doesn’t make sense. The vast majority of our international customers have clearly stated that they will buy grain elsewhere if we adopt GE wheat.” END
Australia, February 2012
"Genetically modified (GM) wheat … is still widely regarded as not acceptable for the foreseeable future." - Grain Growers Ltd, leading industry body for the Australian grains industry. From the February 2012 report titled "What the World Wants from Australian Wheat" - an analysis of industry surveys and interviews with flour and stock feed manufacturers in Australia, South East Asia, North Asia, the Middle East and
Europe. Over 80% of Australia's export market (in value) will not buy GM wheat now, for the next five years, or in the foreseeable future.
The Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) was instrumental in stopping Monsanto's GM Wheat in 2004. As a united voice for wheat farmers, the CWB conducted market research which showed our international markets did not want GM wheat and would reject wheat exports from Canada if GM wheat was approved, because of the risk of contamination. The CWB also surveyed wheat farmers and found they did not want GM wheat. The CWB presented research and the views of wheat farmers to the government. Without the CWB, wheat farmers in Canada will have less market power and a weaker political voice - many will be struggling to survive. Click here for "7 Reasons Non-Farmers Should Care about the Canadian Wheat Board" or visit www.nfu.ca
National Research Council Disavows GM Wheat
April 7, 2011: The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) issued a statement to clarify that it has no plans to research genetically modified (GM) wheat. NRC now states: “GM wheat is not an objective of the NRC wheat program. We will be developing a number of tools that will be used to reduce the breeding cycle, increase yield and adapt to climate stresses. GM varieties are not contemplated at this time.” The statement was issued to CBAN in response to media stories of April 3 that reported on a leaked memo from the government research agency. “NRC has finally recognized what everyone but Monsanto understands: that GM wheat is unacceptable to farmers and consumers,” said Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network.
- Read the full press release: "Canada's National Research Council Disavows GM Wheat"
- Read the full statement from the National Research Council
July 2011: Australia’s top scientific body, CSIRO, is conducting the world’s first human feeding trials of GM wheat. Scientists have already denounced the trials: "The feeding trials should not be conducted until long-term impact assessments have been undertaken and appropriate information released to enable the scientific community to determine the value of such research, as against the risks." A Greenpeace report, Australia's Wheat Scandal, detailed a major conflict of interest at CSIRO.
July 2010: Monsanto and BASF Plant Science are expanding joint research to develop GM wheat. They say they aim to commercialize a GM wheat in at least 10 years. The companies say they plan to "initially focus on developing biotech products for the North American and Australian markets." The joint announcement comes on the heels of a separate plan announced by Syngenta and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in April to work toward biotech wheat
GM Wheat Rejected by 233 Farmer and Consumer Groups from 26 Countries
On May 14, 2009, industry groups in Canada, Australia and the US pledged to "work toward the goal of synchronized commercialization of biotech traits in our wheat crops." (Soon after this industry statement, Monsanto launched new GM wheat research and bought WestBred, a Montana company specializing in wheat germplasm.) The 2009 rejection statement organized by CBAN is in response to this industry statement:
"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"
- List of groups who signed the definitive rejection statement.
- Download the pdf of the statement with list of signatories.
- Press Release, February 2010
- You can sign the global rejection of GM wheat here.
- 15 groups from Canada, Australia and the USA initiated the statement: see the original list
- Read the industry statement that spurred this action.
Slovak Translation!Definitívne Globálny odmietnutie geneticky modifikované pšenica
You can download two great factsheets from the National Farmers Union:
Farmer Rejection in Canada
Farmers in Canada are opposed to GM wheat:
- 69% of farmers are opposed to the introduction of GM wheat "at this time" according to a 2009 survey conducted by the Canadian Wheat Board.
- 83% of Canadian farmers disagreed that Roundup Ready wheat should be introduced according to a study started in 2004 and published in a peer reviewed article March 2009. Overall, the farmers ranked the risks of market loss, corporate control of the food supply, agronomic impact and contamination of non-GM crops much higher than any anticipated production benefits. The study: “Farmer knowledge and a priori risk analysis: pre-release evaluation of genetically modified Roundup Ready wheat across the Canadian prairies”, Ian J. Mauro & Stéphane M. McLachlan & Rene C. Van Acker, 20 March 2009, Environmental Science and Pollution Research.
“Monsanto needs to accept defeat.” said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, a coalition of 18 groups. “The industry groups in our three countries are promising to force this product on all of us but today we reiterate our pledge to stop them.” - June 1, 2009 Press Release