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3-Food: Top UK miller would stop U.S. wheat imports if GE wheatapproved

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TITLE:  Top UK miller to cut N.America wheat if GM okayed
SOURCE: Reuters, by Ben Harding
DATE:   June 5, 2003

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Top UK miller to cut N.America wheat if GM okayed

LONDON - Britain's biggest flour miller Rank Hovis said this week it
would stop using North American wheat if the United States or Canada
began commercial planting of GM varieties as it might contaminate non-GM
grain during shipment.

Hovis' Wheat Director Peter Jones said if large-scale opposition to
genetically modified (GM) food continued among Britons, Hovis would have
to import high-protein grain from countries such as Germany or Australia
to avoid gene altered material creeping into its bread.

"If in a few years time the British public still felt the same way about
GM when this wheat might be grown commercially, we wouldn't be able to
use it," Jones told Reuters.

Late last week, U.S. industry sources said tests revealed traces of GM
material were finding its way into U.S. wheat supplies.

"We say that the U.S. and Canada should beware. They export a lot of
grain," Jones said.

The United States and Canadian wheat accounts for about 40 percent of
world exports of 98.3 million tonnes.

GM wheat has yet to hit the market, but in January U.S. biotech giant
Monsanto (MON.N) announced plans to release a genetically modified spring
wheat variety, which could potentially cripple North American wheat exports.

Many countries that buy grain from the United States refuse to purchase
GM varieties.

Last week, the Canadian Wheat Board pleaded with Monsanto (MNSN.BO) to
drop its bid for regulatory approval of the GM grain.

About 10 percent of the five million tonnes of grain Hovis bakes every
year comes from the United States and Canada and is used in its higher-
grade bread.

Jones said Hovis already finds the odd piece soybean or corn in its North
American wheat that was probably genetically modified, but was sifted out
during processing.


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