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2-Plants: Monsanto resubmits GE wheat application in U.S.



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TITLE:  Biotech Wheat Back in the Spotlight
SOURCE: Farm Progress, USA, by Jacqui Fatka
        http://www.farmprogress.com/ME2/Segments/Articles/Template1/Common/
        print.asp?mod=Publications::Articles&aid=C91145ABB220421393FB1EC2A
        7B33662&dtxt=
DATE:   Mar 11, 2004

------------------- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/ -------------------


Biotech Wheat Back in the Spotlight

Monsanto has invested millions of dollars in Roundup Ready technology for
spring wheat. On Thursday the agricultural company withdrew an initial
application seeking USDA approval of genetically modified wheat, and
submitted a new application.

Janice Armstrong, Monsanto senior public affairs specialist, explains the
process as "housekeeping." In July 2003, the USDA asked Monsanto for
additional information on Roundup Ready wheat. Armstrong explains instead
of replying to the USDA with additional documents, the original
application that was submitted in December 2002 was withdrawn and a new
one sent to the department on March 4th.

Although the specifics of the application couldn't be told in full
detail, Armstrong says most of the additions involved "agronomic
practices." Armstrong now says the ball is in the USDA's court for
approval of the genetically modified wheat variety.

Wire reports say if Monsanto was to be granted approval, "Monsanto would
not market biotech wheat until growers and consumers were comfortable
with it."

In January, Monsanto presented the National Association of Wheat Growers
(NAWG), U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the Wheat Export Trade Education
Committee (WETEC) with a letter asking the groups to publicly announce
their full support for timely deregulation and commercialization of
Roundup Ready wheat. Monsanto also asked the groups to help develop a
strategy to educate growers and consumers about the safety of biotech wheat.

The three organizations have formed a joint biotech committee to draft
comments. Darrell Hanavan, executive director of the Colorado Wheat
Growers and chairman of the wheat industry's joint biotech committee,
says they are in the process of developing a response and are actually
meeting this weekend to continue work on the draft.

"We've met with officials from Monsanto and we plan to meet with other
technology providers and getting some additional input before we make our
recommendations to our board of directors," Hanavan says. He adds before
they go to the board, they will circulate the response to the state
associations for additional input.

Because this is the first variety of biotech wheat, the associations are
not rushing to instantly make a response. "It's a big decision," Hanavan
says. "I think our timeline is going to be mid to late summer when we
have that response."




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