Daily News Archives
Suspends Development of GE Wheat
(Beyond Pesticides, May 11, 2004) Monsanto announced
yesterday that the company will "de-prioritize" research into
Roundup-Ready wheat, a product opposed by wheat markets around the world
as well as by U.S. farmers. Opponents of genetically engineered wheat
called Monsanto's announcement a step in the right direction, but noted
that Monsanto continues to seek USDA approval for genetically engineered
wheat and has not ruled out its introduction.
"We are pleased that Monsanto is pushing back its planned introduction
of genetically engineered wheat, but it should be pushed back to never,
not simply delayed," said U.S. PIRG food safety advocate Richard
Caplan. "No one wants or needs this product, and the U.S. should
not introduce unnecessary risk to human health, the environment, or
our export markets by accepting its introduction."
Food safety advocates and a bipartisan coalition of Great Plains state
legislators have been working for several years to block genetically
engineered wheat. Economists have predicted significant economic harm
from its commercialization, as key markets around the world have indicated
a refusal to accept wheat imports from countries that authorize commercial
plantings. Beyond Pesticides reported on economic research into GE in
the November 20, 2003 edition of Daily News, GM
Wheat to Adversely Affect U.S. Economy, Research Shows. Additional
from Great Britain further shows the adverse economic effects of GE.
Because the Food and Drug Administration does not require mandatory
food safety assessments of genetically engineered crops, significant
questions remain about its human health impacts. It is also likely,
as with other crops engineered to withstand applications of herbicides,
that chemical use on the crop would increase rather than decrease. The
potential effects are immense, and include such consequences as development
of insect resistance and superweeds, damage to public health and the
environment through increased pesticide usage, and unfair treatments
to farmers who sign contracts with biotechnology corporations when purchasing
their genetically engineered seeds and crops.
"Monsanto should finish the job it has begun with today's announcement
and announce that it is terminating its efforts to bring Roundup-Ready
wheat to market," concluded U.S. PIRG's Caplan. "Today's announcement
is just one step."
For more information, contact Richard
Caplan, U.S. PIRG, 202-546-9707.
TAKE ACTION: Protect our land and food from
GE. Buy organic and lobby your supermarket to label GE food. You can
also contact EPA Administrator Michael Leavitt by email,
phone: 202-564-4711, or fax: 202-501-1470, and urge the EPA to fully
test the health and environmental impacts of GE.