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2-Plants: U.S. National Association of Wheat Growers supports GEwheat



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                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  US farmers to help win GM wheat acceptance
SOURCE: Reuters, by Carey Gillam
DATE:   Jan 31, 2003

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US farmers to help win GM wheat acceptance

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - US wheat farmers were moving to help Monsanto Co.
overcome customer apprehension to the world's first genetically modified
wheat, which is moving closer to regulatory approval both in the US and
abroad.

"Consumers trust farmers," said Monsanto wheat industry affairs spokesman
Michael Doane. "We've been investing in this technology... now for
probably a decade. We're entering a new part of the project and need
industry help to educate decision makers."

After spending more than a decade - and tens of millions of dollars - in
development of a genetically modified wheat that allows farmers to more
efficiently control weeds, Monsanto has hit a critical juncture, said
Doane, who was spending this week at a meeting of key wheat industry
players in Albuquerque.

Doane said the company needs farmer groups to step up global educational
efforts to overcome the fears of millers and bakers and food companies
who have seen the food industry rocked by controversy over genetically
modified crops.

And the farmers are on board. While two years ago, the wheat farmers
viewed Monsanto's GM wheat proposal with some suspicion and fear of
losing markets, this week's annual gathering found firm support for
Monsanto and eagerness to obtain the potential benefits the technology
might offer.

"Rather than sitting on the sidelines hoping that it wins acceptance...
we're trying to help out," said National Association of Wheat Growers
(NAWG) CEO Darren Coppock. "It is very much a partnership (with Monsanto)."

As one sign of the new market outreach underway by growers, NAWG is
forming a group made up of players up and down the food chain, including
leading fast food giant McDonald's Corp., to formulate a united front for
GM wheat when it hits the market.

The group hopes to have a strategy together within the next year.
Monsanto submitted final regulatory submissions in the U Sand Canada in
December and regulatory approval looks to be at least 18 to 24 months
away. Monsanto has also applied for regulatory approval in Japan.

Cautionary voice continued to be heard. Leading buyers of wheat, both
within the US, and in key export markets, have stated firmly they will
not buy GM wheat. The concern is not one of safety - the science shows no
evidence of health or environmental harm - but one of public sentiment.

The contamination 2-1/2 years ago of taco shells, corn chips and other
products by a GM corn not approved for food use still has food chain
players skittish, even though a GM wheat would not be released until it
had full regulatory approval.

And last year's contamination of soybeans with an experimental biotech
corn aimed at treating diabetes further fueled fears about a lack of
control over biotech crops.

"Yes, we support food biotechnology and yes, we know it is grounded in
sound science," said Betsy Faga president of the North American Millers
Association. "But we have to ask the question, are our customers ready
for genetically enhanced wheat?"

Archer Daniels Midland is one company concerned about a GM wheat
introduction. While ADM accepts the safety of the technology, the
company's customers say they don't want to buy GM wheat.

"They're telling me they're going to go non-GMO," said ADM milling
executive Dave Green. "They don't want to lose even a small percentage of
customers."

The highest hurdle seen by many is winning over the key world buyers
ofUSwheat, including many Asian countries. Research by US Wheat, the
group that markets domestic wheat abroad, has found strong opposition and
the group has cautioned that commercialization could hurt overseas sales.

That message is one growers hope to quash. Indeed, this week, wheat
growers ordered US Wheat to stop talking publicly about the export market
opposition, saying such discussion only hurts the efforts to gain acceptance.

"We've got to figure out how to overcome the problems," said Darrell
Hanavan, the head of a joint wheat industry biotech advisory committee
that works closely with Monsanto.

"We are going to see some biotech traits in wheat in the future that are
very beneficial to us," said Hanavan. "I think (Monsanto) wants to do
things right."


                                  PART II
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TITLE:  Top Italian miller to spurn gene-modified wheat
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   Feb 3, 2003

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Top Italian miller to spurn gene-modified wheat

ROME - Italy's biggest miller, Grandi Molini Italiani (GMI), will avoid
importing genetically modified (GM) U.S. wheat, which is moving closer to
regulatory approval in the United States and elsewhere, its CEO said.
Biotech crop pioneer Monsanto Co. completed final regulatory submissions
last month in the United States and Canada for what would be the world's
first transgenic wheat. The wheat is engineered to withstand Monsanto's
glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide. "We will not only avoid buying GM
wheat but we will probably be forced to completely avoid importing from
those countries/regions where it is known that GM wheat is grown," GMI's
Antonio Costato told Reuters, reiterating a view stated last year. "As
president of GMI, I do not see any reason to expose the company to the
risks implied by accidental contamination with GM wheat," added Costato,
whose company has six mills in Italy and turns over some 1.4 million
tonnes of grain annually. The GM wheat issue is the hot topic being
debated this week at the annual gathering of U.S. wheat industry groups
in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Consumer groups in Europe and elsewhere have
protested against such crops, fearing health and environmental risks.