Monsanto's Genetically Engineered Wheat Rejected Globally

For Immediate Release

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Ronnie Cummins  (218) 226-4164
Alexis Baden-Mayer (202) 744-0853

Monsanto's Genetically Engineered Wheat Rejected Globally

Groups Respond to Industry Plans for GE Wheat

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).

 

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The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The OCA deals with crucial issues of food safety, industrial agriculture, genetic engineering, children's health, corporate accountability, Fair Trade, environmental sustainability and other key topics. We are the only organization in the US focused exclusively on promoting the views and interests of the nation's estimated 50 million organic and socially responsible consumers.

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