Embargoed until Tuesday, 2 June 2009
Genetically Engineered Wheat Rejected Globally
Groups Remind Monsanto
Tri-national Statement Responds to Industry Pledge to Commercialise GE Wheat
Montréal, Ottawa, Washington, Canberra – Tuesday, June 2, 2009.
Farmers, consumers and civil society organisations in Australia, Canada and the U.S. have released a joint statement confirming their collective commitment to stop the commercialisation of genetically engineered (GE) wheat (1). In 2 004, 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 recent “Wheat Commercialisation Statement” endorsed by industry lobby groups in the three countries (2). The industry groups pledged to “work toward the goal of synchronised commercialisation of biotech traits in our wheat crops.” Today’s statement was endorsed by 15 groups in Australia, Canada and the U.S. These include the National Farmers Union in Canada, the Network of Concerned Farmers in Australia, and the National Family Farm Coalition in the U.S. The statement counters the six industry arguments in favour of GE wheat outlined in the industry statement.
“The genetic engineering of wheat would be a calamity for all wheat farmers,” said Julie Newman, a wheat farmer and spokesperson for the Network of Concerned Farmers in Australia. Consumers across the world have already rejected the idea of GE wheat but corporations are intent on controlling this crop through their gene patents,”
The group statement centers on the pledge: “In light of our existing experience with genetic engineering, and recognising the global consumer rejection of genetically engineered wheat, we restate our definitive opposition to GE wheat and our commitment to stopping the commercialisation of GE traits in our wheat crops.”
According to Terry Boehm, a wheat farmer and Vice President of the National Farmers Union of Canada “GE wheat is a potential disaster of huge proportions. People do not want GE in their bread. We refuse to allow industry groups to restart any campaign to commercialise GE wheat.”
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.
The groups are asking other organisations around the world to join them by endorsing the statement before August 31, 2009 at :
For more information contact:
Julie Newman, Network of Concerned Farmers: 08 98711562 or 0427 711644
Louise Sales, Greenpeace Genetic Engineering Campaigner: 0438 679 263
(1) The statement, which can be viewed at http://www.cban.ca/GEwheat was signed by the following 15 organisations: National Farmers Union, Canada; Canadian Biotechnology Action Network; Union Paysanne, Canada; Union Biologique Paysanne, Canada; Réseau Québécois contre les OGM, Canada; Saskatchewan Organic Directorate, Canada; Network of Concerned Farmers, Australia; Organic Federation of Australia; Biological Farmers of Australia; Greenpeace; Gene Ethics, Australia; National Family Farm Coalition, USA; Western Organization of Resource Councils, USA; Center for Food Safety, USA; Organic Consumers Association, USA.
(2) The industry “Wheat Commercialisation Statement” can also be viewed at http://www.cban.ca/wheat