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TITLE:  New report exposes multiple threats if GE wheat approved
SOURCE: Greenpeace Canada, Press Release
        http://action.web.ca/home/gpc/alerts.shtml?sh_itm=5acf1e96e569109fd
        497cd7b08d85073&AA_EX_Session=5d6104852e08ac568bad03302ac45559
DATE:   Nov 20, 2002

------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------


New report exposes multiple threats if GE wheat approved

Canada's wheat growers could suffer devastating market losses and farm 
management problems, and consumer and environmental safety could be 
compromised if GE wheat is approved, according to a new report released 
today by Greenpeace. The study is the most comprehensive investigation to 
date of the threat of GE wheat to North American farmers, many of whom 
actively oppose the crop's introduction. It has been sent to the Canadian 
government by Greenpeace with a plea to block the introduction of GE wheat 
and guarantee to Canadian farmers and the public that it will not be 
approved for growing in Canada.

The study cites six main causes for concern:
1. Loss of Canadian and U.S. export markets
2. Segregation problems and inevitable contamination of fields and food.
3. Weakening of Canada’s wheat variety registration system and tarnishing 
Canada's reputation for quality.
4. The difficulties of managing crops would not be offset by claimed 
benefits.
5. Increased, more toxic, pesticide use and ecological disruption are 
likely.
6. Regulatory flaws mean GE wheat approval could not assure safety for 
humans, environment.

"Canada can not put effective, affordable systems in place to ensure that 
GE wheat wouldn't contaminate the wheat supply and the environment. Such 
contamination could have huge economic, health and environmental 
implications," said Dr. Rod MacRae, food policy consultant and the report's 
lead author.

"Given what is at stake, we are alarmed by the secrecy surrounding the 
looming approval of GE wheat. Neither the government nor Monsanto will 
fully inform the public of its status. A Monsanto spokesperson said last 
week that they are 'open and honest' in their handling of GE wheat. Well, 
if that's true, come forward, Monsanto, and debate us on the risks," said 
Holly Penfound of Greenpeace Canada, also a report co-author. Preliminary 
arrangements have been made for a public debate to be overseen by an 
independent third party.

"Monsanto and the Canadian government don't seem to realize that the 
livelihoods of Canadian farmers and the viability of a key export commodity 
are at stake," said Marc Loiselle of the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate, 
which represents farmers suing for an injunction to halt the approval of GE 
wheat.

"If they really want to be 'open and honest' they'll let an anxious farm 
community know the status of the application and put an end to this looming 
threat."

The Saskatchewan Organic Directorate is one of a long list of farm 
organizations that have been actively opposing the approval of GE wheat in 
Canada. Other groups include the Canadian Wheat Board, the National Farmers 
Union, the U.S.-based Farmer-to-Farmer campaign, Manitoba's Keystone 
Agricultural Producers, and the Saskatchewan Association of Rural 
Municipalities.

Related site: "Against the Grain - The Threat of Genetically Engineered 
Wheat" report

[download the pdf-file at: http://www.greenpeace.ca/e/resource/publications/
gmo/wheat_report_11-02.pdf read a french summary at: http://
www.greenpeace.ca/f/campagnes/ogm/ble/bleMaudit.html]

 

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