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[genet-news] GMO-FREE PRODUCTS: Farm groups from Canada, the USA and Australia counter call for GMO wheat



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:  FARM GROUPS COUNTER CALL FOR GMO WHEAT

SOURCE: Reuters, UK

AUTHOR: Rod Nickel

URL:    http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSN0147935920090601

DATE:   01.06.2009

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FARM GROUPS COUNTER CALL FOR GMO WHEAT

SASKATOON, Saskatchewan, June 1 (Reuters) - Farm and environment groups opposed to genetically modified wheat are countering a call from other farm organizations for biotech companies to commercially develop it.

Fifteen groups in the top wheat-exporting countries of Canada, the U.S. and Australia released a joint statement of opposition to GMO wheat on Monday. It follows the May 14 call by GM wheat supporters in the three countries for synchronized production of GM wheat.

?Genetic engineering for wheat would be a calamity for all wheat farmers,? said Julie Newman, a member of the Network of Concerned Farmers in Australia. ?Consumers across the world have already rejected the idea of GE wheat.?

Monsanto Co shelved plans for a herbicide-tolerant GMO wheat in 2004 in the face of opposition from U.S. wheat buyers, farmers and exporters such as the Canadian Wheat Board that feared a loss of overseas customers. Major export markets in Europe and Asia are particularly sensitive to concerns about GM food.

The farm groups? main concern is that loss of markets will hurt prices for farmers, said Katherine Ozer, executive director of the Washington D.C.-based National Family Farm Coalition.

?If (genetically engineered) wheat is released commercially, contamination would be inevitable and markets would view all wheat produced from these areas as GE unless proven to be non-GE,? the groups stated. ?Farmers growing GE wheat will take on all of the responsibilities, costs and liabilities, with little available legal recourse to recover their losses.?

Other groups signing the statement include the National Farmers Union, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, the Organic Federation of Australia, Biological Farmers of Australia, Greenpeace and the U.S.-based Organic Consumers Association.

Farmers who support development of GMO wheat say genetic engineering would help wheat stay competitive with other key crops like corn, soybeans and canola that have GM seed options. But GMO opponents counter that unlike GMO crops grown primarily for feed, oil and fiber, wheat is mainly used for human consumption and would be subject to labeling requirements in many countries. (Reporting by Rod Nickel; Editing by John Picinich)



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:  AG GROUPS PUSH BACK AGAINST BIOTECH WHEAT

SOURCE: Alberta Farm Express, Canada

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://www.albertafarmexpress.ca/issues/ISArticle.asp?aid=1000327870&PC=FBC&issue=06022009

DATE:   02.06.2009

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AG GROUPS PUSH BACK AGAINST BIOTECH WHEAT

A bid by a number of Canadian, U.S. and Australian growers? groups to help clear the regulatory road for gene-altered wheats has run up against equally opposed groups from the same three countries.

?In light of our existing experience with genetic engineering, and recognizing the global consumer rejection of genetically engineered (GE) wheat, we restate our definitive opposition to GE wheat and our commitment to stopping the commercialization of GE traits in our wheat crops,? 15 farmer, consumer and ?civil society? groups said in a joint release Monday.

Canadian groups putting their names to the statement include the National Farmers Union (NFU), Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, Union Paysanne, Union Biologique Paysanne, Reseau Quebecois contre les OGM and the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate.

Australian groups included the Network of Concerned Farmers, Organic Federation of Australia, Biological Farmers of Australia, Greenpeace and Gene Ethics. U.S. groups on the same statement included the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) , Western Organization of Resource Councils, Center for Food Safety and Organic Consumers Association.

?GE wheat is a potential disaster of huge proportions. People do not want GE in their bread,? NFU vice-president Terry Boehm, who farms at Allan, Sask., said in the groups? release. ?We refuse to allow industry groups to restart any campaign to commercialize GE wheat.?

?Monsanto and industry groups in our countries need to abandon their agenda of forcing GE wheat onto a market that doesn?t want or need it,? NFFC executive director Katherine Ozer said in the same release.

Similar pressure from various groups has so far kept any seed genetics firm from trying to register a GM wheat. Monsanto in 2004 announced it would shelve its work toward introduction of wheat varieties in Canada and the U.S. with its patented Roundup Ready genetics for glyphosate tolerance.

Farm groups and agencies such as the Canadian Wheat Board have previously contended that introduction of biotech wheat, without significant market acceptance or a functioning system to segregate it from conventional wheats, would jeopardize farmers? export and domestic markets alike for the conventional crop.

?Synchronizing approvals?

Monday?s statement followed a May 14 release from growers? groups that said they would work together to ?ensure the commercial introduction of biotech traits in wheat will proceed smoothly by synchronizing regulatory approvals in exporting and importing nations.?

Applying biotechnology in wheat research ?could lead to the development of several traits to improve wheat yields and wheat quality,? the pro-biotech growers? groups said.

As it now would take six to eight years for new biotech wheat varieties to reach commercial introduction, the groups said, ?it is critical to signal both seed developers and policymakers now, that many farmers are eager to see biotech traits in wheat that could improve their profitability and improve food security for many countries around the world.?

Traits to improve wheat plants? yields could include those that deal with environmental factors (drought, cold), combat weed or insect infestations, improve disease resistance or improve a plant?s use of nutrients, the groups said.

Canadian groups on board to support wheat biotech approvals included the Grain Growers of Canada, Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association and Alberta Winter Wheat Producers Commission.

U.S. supporters included the National Association of Wheat Growers, U.S. Wheat Associates and North American Millers? Association, while Australian groups involved included the Grains Council of Australia, Grain Growers Association and the Pastoralists and Graziers Association of Western Australia.

NFU president Stewart Wells retorted May 15 that the three Canadian groups backing the biotech effort ?don?t speak for the majority of producers? and that international customers who now buy 82 per cent of Canada?s wheat crop have previously said they would stop buying if Canada were to introduce GM wheat.



                                  PART 3

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TITLE:  GENETICALLY ENGINEERED WHEAT REJECTED GLOBALLY, GROUPS REMIND MONSANTO

SOURCE: National Farmers Union, Canada

AUTHOR: Press Release

URL:    http://www.nfu.ca/press_releases/press/2009/June-09/Canadian,%20US,%20Australian%20farm%20organizations%20reject%20GE%20wheat.pdf

DATE:   01.06.2009

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GENETICALLY ENGINEERED WHEAT REJECTED GLOBALLY, GROUPS REMIND MONSANTO

Tri-national Statement Responds to Industry Pledge to Commercialize GE Wheat

Ottawa, Montréal, Washington, Canberra ? Monday, June 1, 2009. Farmers, consumers and civil society organizations in Australia, Canada and the U.S. released a joint statement confirming their collective commitment to stop commercialization of genetically engineered (GE) wheat. (1) In 2004, global pressure prevented biotechnology company Monsanto from pushing GE wheat onto an unwilling market.

The statement ?Definitive Global Rejection of Genetically Engineered Wheat? was released to counter a May 14 ?Wheat Commercialization Statement? released by industry lobby groups in the three countries. (2) The industry pledged to ?work toward the goal of synchronized commercialization of biotech traits in our wheat crops.? Today?s statement was released by 15 groups in Australia, Canada and the US, including the National Farmers Union, the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, the National Family Farm Coalition in the US and the Network of Concerned Farmers in Australia, and counters the six stated industry arguments in favour of GE wheat.

?GE wheat is a potential disaster of huge proportions,? said Terry Bohem, Vice President of the National Farmers Union in Canada, ?We refuse to allow Monsanto and industry groups to restart any campaign to commercialize GE wheat.?

The group statement centers on the pledge: ?In light of our existing experience with genetic engineering, and recognizing the global consumer rejection of genetically engineered wheat, we restate our definitive opposition to GE wheat and our commitment to stopping the commercialization of GE traits in our wheat crops.?

?Genetic engineering for wheat would be a calamity for all wheat farmers. Consumers across the world have already rejected the idea of GE wheat but corporations are intent on controlling this crop through their gene patents,? said Julie Newman of the Network of Concerned Farmers in Australia.

In 2004, Monsanto withdrew its applications for approval for GE wheat in Canada and the U.S., due to intensive consumer and farmer protest. The wheat is engineered to be tolerant to Monsanto?s brand-name herbicide Roundup.

?Monsanto needs to accept defeat.? said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, a coalition of 18 groups. ?The industry groups in our three countries are promising to force this product on all of us but today we reiterate our pledge to stop them.?

?Monsanto and industry groups in our countries need to abandon their agenda of forcing GE wheat onto a market that doesn?t want or need it,? said Katherine Ozer, Executive Director of the National Family Farm Coalition in the U.S.

The groups signing the statement have also asked groups around the world to sign on at www.cban.ca/wheat before August 31, 2009.

ENDS

For more information: Terry Boehm, National Farmers Union, Canada (cell) 306 255 7638 or 306 255 2880; Julie Newman, Network of Concerned Farmers, Australia, 08 98711562 or 0427 711644: Katherine Ozer, National Family Farm Coalition US (cell) 202 421 4544 or 1 202 543-5675; Lucy Sharratt, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, 613 241 2267 ext 5.

or See www.cban.ca/GEwheat or www.cban.ca/press

(1) The ?Definitive Global Rejection of Genetically Engineered Wheat? statement was signed by the following organizations: National Farmers Union, Canada; Canadian Biotechnology Action Network; Union Paysanne, Canada; Union Biologique Paysanne, Canada; Réseau Québécois contre les OGM, Canada; Saskatchewan Organic Directorate, Canada; Network of Concerned Farmers, Australia; Organic Federation of Australia; Biological Farmers of Australia; Greenpeace; Gene Ethics, Australia; National Family Farm Coalition, USA; Western Organization of Resource Councils, USA; Center for Food Safety, USA; Organic Consumers Association, USA.

(2) The industry ?Wheat Commercialization Statement? can be viewed at www.cban.ca/wheat



                                  PART 4

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TITLE:  DEFINITIVE GLOBAL REJECTION OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED WHEAT

SOURCE: Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, Canada

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://www.cban.ca/Resources/Topics/GE-Crops-and-Foods-Not-on-the-Market/Wheat/Definitive-Global-Rejection-of-Genetically-Engineered-Wheat

DATE:   01.06.2009

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DEFINITIVE GLOBAL REJECTION OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED WHEAT

Statement of Australian, Canadian and US Farmer, Environmental and Consumer Organizations

Summary Statement: In light of our existing experience with genetic engineering, and recognizing the global consumer rejection of genetically engineered wheat, we restate our definitive opposition to GE wheat and our commitment to stopping the commercialization of GE traits in our wheat crops. We are committed to working with farmers, civil society groups and Indigenous peoples across the globe as we travel the road towards global food sovereignty.

Statement in Full: In the interest of reiterating the decisive global rejection of genetically engineered (GE) wheat, culminating in Monsanto?s 2004 withdrawal of requests to the Canadian and U.S. governments for commercialization of their GE wheat; and in the interest of laying to rest the attempts by Monsanto and other biotechnology corporations to introduce genetically engineered wheat, the undersigned organizations issue the following joint statement:

1. Wheat is an ancient grain that is vital for meeting the nutritional needs of many societies and has deep religious significance in many cultures. Wheat is one of three staple crop plants (the other two are rice and maize) that account for two-thirds of the diet of the world?s population. Over centuries of cultivation, farmers have developed a tremendous diversity of wheat varieties, many of which are adapted to the soil and climate conditions of certain regions of the world. These locally-bred varieties are critical to ensuring local food supplies during times of weather-related disasters. In Australia, Canada, and the US, farmers and public scientists have worked collectively with this diversity to develop varieties adapted to local conditions and suited to relevant markets. Multinational seed companies have played an insignificant role in fundamental wheat seed development in these countries or anywhere else in the world.

2. The remarkable achievements in wheat breeding that farmers and scientists have managed over generations have not involved genetic engineering or patenting. While farmers and conventional breeders continue to lead the way in innovation with wheat, there are currently no genetically engineered traits in the pipeline for wheat that promise basic agronomic improvements. In reality, the only GE trait in wheat for which approval has been sought is for tolerance to the herbicide glyphosate. This trait is not designed to increase yields, but to simplify herbicide application. Not only does this technology contribute nothing to feeding the world, genetic engineering is a direct threat to global food security. Genetic engineering can and does lead to contamination of seed varieties, and poses a decisive threat to organic farming and the production of crop varieties bred specifically for local conditions. Moreover, the introduction of GE wheat would put the wheat seed supply in the h
 ands of a small number of multinational corporations, as has happened with the introduction of GE soybeans, GE corn and GE canola. During the recent food crisis, these companies used their oligopolistic positions to dramatically increase the price of seeds and agrochemicals. Farmers planting wheat in the Australia, Canada and the US were less affected by these price increases because they were free to save seeds and had access to public varieties. Monsanto, the world?s largest producer of GE seeds, increased its profits by 120% in 2008. It should also be noted that since the introduction of GE crops in 1996, the number of people going hungry in the world has ballooned from an estimated 800 million to over 1 billion.

3. Rather than the area of wheat production decreasing due to competition from GE crops, a March 2009 Statistics Canada survey of farmers in western Canada found that farmers plan to increase acreage of wheat, barley and peas, crops for which there are no GE varieties and where plant breeding is primarily in the public sector. The survey also revealed that farmers intend to cut back on acres planted to canola seed, which is mainly GE in Canada, in order to decrease production costs. Additionally, there is no evidence to substantiate the claim that GE crop varieties increase yields.

4. Plant breeders and farmers have for too long narrowly focused on economies of scale and higher yields. This has resulted in higher input costs and lower net income for farmers. Higher yields have come at a high cost economically, as well as environmentally, because high yielding crops tend to require more fertilizers and chemical inputs. Improved crop quality is more likely than bigger yields to provide higher realized net incomes for farmers. Higher quality wheat can be achieved efficiently and accessibly through conventional plant breeding, and this is where support for research needs to be located.

5. Genetic engineering is a highly imprecise technology. GE crops are inadequately regulated by governments that rely on corporate data rather than public, peer reviewed science. Complex questions relating to the effects of GE crops on soil health, non-target insects, and human health remain understudied. Over 10 years of experience with GE crops has exposed a convincing record of high levels of irreversible contamination and corporate control over seeds as well as continued scientific uncertainty. Additionally, research from wheat organizations (Canadian Wheat Board and Australian Wheat Board) has indicated very strong market rejection of GE wheat. Commercial GE crops have so far been limited to crops used primarily for feed, oil and fibre and have thus not been subjected to national labelling requirements in many countries. GE wheat, however, would primarily be used for human consumption and food products derived from GE wheat would be labelled as GE in many countries acros
 s the world. Additionally, if GE wheat is released commercially, contamination would be inevitable and markets would view all wheat produced from these areas as GE unless proven to be non-GE. Farmers growing GE wheat will take on all of the responsibilities, costs and liabilities, with little available legal recourse to recover their losses.

6. Private seed companies are not investing in wheat research because of competition from strong public plant breeding programs and the desire and capacity of farmers to save wheat seeds from year to year. The main reason why seed companies want to introduce GE wheat is so that, by means of gene patents, they can stop farmers from saving seeds. The introduction of patents into wheat breeding will destroy the collective heritage of plant breeding for wheat and erode the strong public breeding programmes for wheat in the Canada, Australia and the US which have always generated impressive returns through minimal public investments and/or farmer contributions. Additionally, in February 2009, 26 top US corn scientists sent a statement to the US Environmental Protection Agency asserting that independent research is being thwarted by industry technology/stewardship agreements.

In light of our existing experience with genetic engineering, and recognizing the global consumer rejection of genetically engineered wheat, we restate our definitive opposition to GE wheat and our commitment to stopping the commercialization of GE traits in our wheat crops. We are committed to working with farmers, civil society groups and Indigenous peoples across the globe as we travel the road towards global food sovereignty.

Signed By:

National Farmers Union, Canada

Canadian Biotechnology Action Network

Union Paysanne, Canada

Union Biologique Paysanne, Canada

Réseau Québécois contre les OGM, Canada

Saskatchewan Organic Directorate, Canada

Network of Concerned Farmers, Australia

Organic Federation of Australia

Biological Farmers of Australia

Gene Ethics, Australia

Greenpeace

National Family Farm Coalition, USA

Western Organization of Resource Councils, USA

Center for Food Safety, USA

Organic Consumers Association, USA

*Groups across the world are asked to sign on to this statement at www.cban.ca/globalstopGEwheat Deadline: August 31, 2009.

Contact: Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, 613 241 2267 ext 5. coordinator@cban.ca

Note: The above is a response to the May 14, 2009 ?Wheat Biotechnology Statement? in which some industry groups from Australia, Canada and the U.S. pledge their committment to synchronized commercialization of biotechnology in wheat based on 6 claims that genetic engineering has a proven safety record and GE wheat will: feed the world, provide agronomic benefits, increase yield, increase global wheat production, and improve opportunities for private research. The full industry statement can be viewed at www.cban.ca/wheat



                                  PART 5

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TITLE:  THE COSTS OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED WHEAT

SOURCE: Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, Canada

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://www.cban.ca/Resources/Topics/GE-Crops-and-Foods-Not-on-the-Market/Wheat/Costs-of-GM-Wheat

DATE:   01.06.2009

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THE COSTS OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED WHEAT

Monsanto wants to introduce genetically-modified (GM) wheat. Monsanto has inserted a gene so that the wheat crop can be sprayed with Monsanto?s weed spray Roundup: killing other plants but not the wheat. Nearly every analysis of GM wheat has shown that its costs will far exceed its benefits. Here is an overview of some of those costs.

1. Loss of markets: According to a Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) survey, the international customers that buy 87% of our wheat crop say that they will stop buying if Canada introduces GM wheat. One very conservative estimate is that this market loss would mean an 81¢/bushel decrease in the price of wheat.1 This would mean total losses to wheat farmers of over $423 million/year.

2. Increased agronomic costs: Some farmers now grow GM Roundup Ready (RR) canola. Spray that canola with Roundup, and the other plants and weeds die but the canola is left standing. But if Monsanto introduces GM Roundup Ready wheat, the equation changes. Farmers will need additional chemicals to control volunteer Roundup Ready wheat in their RR canola and to control volunteer RR canola in their RR wheat. University of Manitoba plant scientist Rene Van Acker estimates the additional weed control costs at as much as $400 million annually.2 These two costs alone?market loss and increased agronomic costs?total $823 million/year. The loss of $823 million would be a far larger blow to farmers than the loss of the Crow Benefit?a blow that western farmers have yet to recover from. $823 million per year far exceeds farmers? total profits from growing wheat!

3. Fusarium: Agriculture Canada scientists have demonstrated an unequivocal correlation between the use of glyphosate formulations (like Monsanto?s Roundup) and increased fusarium disease in wheat.3 Losses from fusarium already total hundreds of millions per year.4 The spread and intensification of fusarium as a result of GM wheat and increased glyphosate use could increase fusarium losses by hundreds of millions of dollars.

4. Damage to organic agriculture: GM wheat will erode the viability of organic agriculture in much of Canada. GM canola has made it nearly impossible for organic farmers to grow that crop: seed supply contamination and pollen drift mean that organic farmers cannot be sure that their canola will be free of GM seeds. The introduction of GM wheat and subsequent GM crops will leave organic farmers fewer and fewer crops to grow. Organic crop production will become extremely difficult and risky and Canadians will face reduced access to locally-grown, organic food. The costs that would result from the introduction of GM wheat?market loss, agronomic costs, fusarium losses, and the loss of organic options?would almost certainly exceed $1 billion per year. This amount is nearly equal to total federal government spending on farm support programs. By licensing GM wheat, the federal government would take away from farmers an amount equal to all federal taxpayer-funded farm support. These 
 losses would accrue to all wheat farmers, even those who chose not to grow GM wheat. And these losses would be triggered even if only a small number of farmers chose to use GM seed.

5. Seed and technology costs: For its GM wheat, Monsanto would probably charge farmers a $15 Technology Use Fee?as it does for its GM canola. The cost of seed would also increase. And, as Percy Schmeiser found out, farmers would be barred from re-using their own seed, and would have to pay for new seed each year. GM wheat could add $20/acre to farmers? seed and technology costs. With 17 million acres of wheat planted each year in Canada, this could add hundreds of millions of dollars per year to farmers? costs.

Benefits: GM wheat offers few benefits to offset these staggering costs. Managing weeds in wheat is relatively straightforward. And farmers have access to a wide range of chemical herbicides to kill those weeds. Also, it is also unlikely that GM wheat would yield any better than non-GM.

Conclusion: GM wheat would financially devastate Canada?s family farm wheat producers. The vast majority of farmers want the government to stop the introduction of GM wheat. It would be unconscionable for the Canadian government to licence this destructive technology.

1 Furtan, Gray, Holzman, ?Regulatory Approval Decisions in the Presence of Market Externalities: The Case of Genetically Modified Wheat,? (Page 27)

2 Ed White, ?Researchers place dollar value on GM contamination,? Western Producer, November 14, 2002.

3 Research by Dr. Myriam Fernandez presented at the Manitoba Agronomists Conference, December 10, 2003.

4 Ian Bell, ?Fusarium,? Special Report, Western Producer, April 11, 2002, page 24.



                                  PART 6

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TITLE:  TEN REASONS WHY WE DON?T WANT GM WHEAT

SOURCE: Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, Canada

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://www.cban.ca/Resources/Topics/GE-Crops-and-Foods-Not-on-the-Market/Wheat/10-Reasons-Why-We-Don-t-Want-GM-Wheat

DATE:   01.06.2009

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TEN REASONS WHY WE DON?T WANT GM WHEAT

Wheat is one of humanity?s most important and culturally-significant sources of food. Monsanto plans to introduce genetically-modified (GM) wheat. Monsanto has inserted a gene so that the wheat crop can be sprayed with Monsanto?s weed spray Roundup: killing other plants but not the wheat. There are many reasons that Canadians?consumers and farmers alike?don?t want GM wheat, here are ten.

1. Market loss

The international customers that buy 82% of Canada?s wheat crop say that they will stop buying if Canada introduces GM wheat. They are clear: they will stop buying all wheat from us: GM and non-GM alike. One customer, Warburtons (a large British bakery), received 6,000 customer inquiries in 2001 regarding food safety and GM wheat. GM wheat kills markets.

2. The end of organic agriculture

GM wheat threatens to destroy organic agriculture in much of Canada. GM canola has made it nearly impossible for organic farmers to grow that crop: seed supply contamination and pollen drift mean that organic farmers cannot be sure that their canola will be free of GM seeds. The introduction of GM wheat and subsequent GM crops will leave organic farmers fewer and fewer crops to grow. Organic crop production will become nearly impossible and Canadians will lose access to locally-grown, organic food. GM wheat yes = organic no!

3. Lower prices for farmers

GM wheat will dramatically decrease demand for Canadian wheat. Lower prices to farmers are easy to predict. On the other hand, producing GM-free Canadian wheat will give our farmers a marketing advantage if the U.S. and other nations introduce GM wheat. High-quality, GM-free Canadian wheat could be our competitive advantage, our premium product. Stopping GM wheat means higher prices for farmers.

4. Health concerns

Many Canadians, like citizens around the world, question the safety of GM foods. Further, Canadians have grave doubts about Canada?s food safety regulatory system?a system based, not on independent testing in government labs, but on reviewing data from Monsanto and similar companies. Finally, farmers and consumers cannot trust the government to regulate because it is too busy promoting the GM food industry. Why take a risk on GM foods?

5. Environmental damage

GM wheat, once released, cannot be hauled back in. Once this life form is in the environment, it is there forever. Not only can we not recall GM wheat, we cannot contain or control it. GM canola is now cross-pollinating with non-GM canola and with related wild species. Monsanto?s wheat genes will similarly ?flow? through the environment. Again, Canadians know that there has not been sufficient, independent testing done on the long-term ecosystem effects of genetically-modifying the planet?s food crops. This is a completely unnecessary threat to the environment.

6. Agronomic costs

Some farmers now grow GM Roundup Ready canola. Spray that canola with Roundup, and the weeds die and the canola is unscathed. But introduce GM Roundup Ready wheat and the equation changes. Farmers will need additional chemicals to control volunteer Roundup Ready wheat in their RR canola and to control volunteer RR canola in their RR wheat. One agronomist estimated the additional weed control costs at up to $400 million annually.

7. Segregation won?t work

Monsanto says that segregation systems are the solution to market rejection: keep GM and non-GM wheat separate from field to customer. But segregation systems will fail because GM varieties will soon contaminate our wheat seed supply. Tests on canola show that most ?non-GM? certified seed contains GM varieties. The same will happen to wheat. With contaminated seed, it?s impossible to run a segregation system. Further, our bulk, high-throughput grain handling system is ill-designed to segregate: with thousands of points where grain could be mis-represented, mixed, or mis-labelled. Just one or two mistakes, just one or two customers demanding non-GM wheat and getting GM, could cost Canada its reputation for grain quality and cost farmers hundreds-of-millions of dollars annually. And even without mistakes, many customers say that if Canada introduces GM varieties, they will stop buying Canadian wheat altogether, regardless of whether we try to segregate. Ironically, the way that
  segregation will work in practice is that international wheat customers will segregate the world?s wheat exporters into those who plant GM varieties and those who don?t and buy from those who don?t. Finally, successful or not, segregation systems will cost farmers millions. Segregation is costly and will fail.

8. Labelling

Most Canadians want GM food ingredients labelled. But governments, processors and retailers, and corporations such as Monsanto oppose labelling. They oppose your right to know if you are eating GM food. These companies claim that the fate of GM foods should be left to ?the market?, and then simultaneously deny us the information with which we could make an informed decision at the grocery store. It is totally illegitimate, until we have mandatory labelling and an informed public, to introduce new GM foods. What are they afraid of?

9. Corporate control

Transnationals such as Monsanto, Cargill, and ConAgra are increasing their control over our food supply. Worse, Monsanto and others are taking control, not only of our seeds, but of the genes?the building blocks of life. And they use patents and courts to enforce that control. The tremendous market power that agri-biz transnationals already have, and their attendant ability to suck the profits out of farmers? pockets, is the real cause of the farm income crisis. GM wheat offers no net benefits to farmers or consumers but it dramatically increases corporate control of the global food system. Should Monsanto control our seeds and our food?

10. We don?t need it

Farmers are told, rightly or wrongly, that there is too much grain in the world: we don?t need GM wheat in order to grow more. Consumers will see no benefit from GM wheat: with or without it, bread prices will still go up. GM wheat brings no benefits. GM wheat is not a solution: it creates problems rather than solving them. Let?s say no to this turkey.

One reason why you would want GM wheat

1. If you?re a Monsanto shareholder

Independent economists report that the financial benefits from GM wheat will go to Monsanto: farmers? costs will rise and consumers will not see lower bread prices. Monsanto lost $2.5 billion [Cdn.$] in 2002, mostly because of lower Roundup sales. Monsanto needs to return to profitability. Thus, it is pushing its GM Roundup Ready wheat. With GM wheat, the profits go to Monsanto and the risks and costs go to consumers and farmers.

Glossary

Genetically-modified (GM): Canada?s Royal Society defined ?genetic modification? as the direct transfer or modification of genetic material using recombinant DNA techniques. ?Genetic modification? is the human insertion or manipulation of genes or genetic material, distinct from traditional plant-breeding techniques.

Roundup Ready (RR) wheat: GM wheat wherein Monsanto has inserted a gene that allows the plant to tolerate applications of Roundup (Monsanto?s trade name for the broad-spectrum herbicide glyphosate).


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