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6-Regulation: Canadian Wheat Board wants stricter controls on GE crops

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

TITLE:  CWB wants stricter controls
SOURCE: The Leader-Post/Canadian Press, Canada
DATE:   Jan 13, 2003

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CWB wants stricter controls

WINNIPEG (CP) -- The Canadian Wheat Board is pressuring Ottawa to introduce 
stricter controls on new genetically modified crops before approving 
Monsanto's Roundup Ready wheat.

The biotechnology company applied late last month for federal government 
approval of the herbicide-resistant crop.

Ottawa has already approved Roundup Ready versions of other crops including 
canola, but the Wheat Board says the existing health and environmental 
review system does not address some of the key problems with Roundup Ready 

The board is lobbying Agriculture Canada for new regulations requiring 
genetically engineered crops to meet extra conditions, including market 
acceptance, effective segregation from conventional varieties and overall 
benefit to the farming community.

"It's very unlikely that Roundup Ready wheat will satisfy the conditions 
that farmers and the grain industry want to place on genetically modified 
wheat varieties," said Gord Flaten, the board's market development director.

More than 80 per cent of the wheat board's customers have said they will 
not buy genetically modified wheat. The wheat board supports the detailed 
safety review Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will 
now undertake, but Flaten said it is extremely unlikely the Canadian 
government's reassurances would change customer opinions. Flaten said 
farmers' fears that the biotech wheat will make weed control more 
complicated and expensive are as important as marketing problems.

Monsanto has promised not to market Roundup Ready wheat until customers are 
found, but Flaten said the decision about whether to release the wheat 
commercially should not be left up to an individual company.

                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Taking GM wheat seriously
SOURCE: Canadian Wheat Board, CWB Now
DATE:   Jan 2003

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Taking GM wheat seriously

When discussing the possible introduction of genetically modified (GM) 
wheat in Canada, you sometimes hear the comment made, "Let the market sort 
it out. If customers don't want it, they won't buy it and farmers won't 
grow it." But it's not that simple.

Consider StarLink corn. This GM corn variety developed by Aventis 
CropScience was approved for animal feed use only, but it found its way 
into the food corn system in September 2000, causing a costly nationwide 
recall of more than 300 corn-based foods and loss of international sales.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture agreed to strict monitoring procedures 
on export corn shipments to important markets such as Canada and Japan. 
However, in spite of all the time and money spent to eradicate StarLink 
from the U.S. grain supply, reports from Japan stated that tests had turned 
up the GM corn variety in a food corn shipment from the U.S. as recently as 
December 2002. This comes more than two years after the problem was first 
identified, showing just how difficult it is to guarantee 100 per cent 
purity in any grain shipments that go through bulk handling and shipping 

The U.S. is once again facing a loss of export markets if Japan and other 
countries panic over possible StarLink contamination.

So what would happen if a few farmers in Western Canada decided that they 
wanted to give GM wheat a try? Right now, Monsanto is proceeding with the 
development and registration of a GM Roundup Ready variety of Canada 
Western Red Spring wheat - the class of wheat that comprises the majority 
of the CWB's sales, earning millions each year for western Canadian farmers.

The CWB is committed to safeguarding farmers' income. Due to the very real 
dangers of market loss posed by GM wheat, the CWB opposes the introduction 
of GM wheat into commercial production in Canada until strict conditions 
are met. These conditions include providing positive cost-benefits for 
farmers and achieving widespread market acceptance. The CWB has studied the 
agronomic value of RRW and, so far, sees no true agronomic benefits for 
farmers. As well, with about two-thirds of farmers' customers now on record 
saying they won't buy GM wheat, market acceptance is low.

The CWB and other members of an industry working group recently released a 
discussion document, 'Conditions for the Introduction of Genetically 
Modified Wheat', that outlines a comprehensive set of conditions that must 
be met before GM wheat can be commercially grown in Canada. The document is 
available on the CWB's Web site at under 'Hot Topics' or by 
calling 1-800-275-4292. This is a discussion document so your comments are 

To reach the CWB, please call our toll-free phone line at 1-800-275-4292. 
This column is written on a regular basis by CWB communications consultant 
Andrea Geary


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