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Wheat Board not ready for GM grain: Goodale says separation method necessary to protect markets

(Friday, May 30, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Ottawa Citizen via Agnet: Ralph Goodale, minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, was cited as saying in an interview yesterday that Canada must devise a way to strictly separate traditional crops from genetically modified crops before allowing genetically engineered wheat in farmers' fields, adding, "We will need to be able to say to our customers: 'if you order the GMO product, that's exactly what you'll get, and if you order the non-GMO product, that's exactly what you'll get. And there will be no co-mingling.'"

Monsanto Canada's spokeswoman Trish Jordan was cited as saying the company will not put any genetically engineered wheat on the market until there is a system to segregate it from conventional wheat, up to a certain "tolerance threshold" of mixing.

But Ken Ritter, chairman of the Wheat Board's directors, was cited as saying that once the bio-engineered wheat is allowed in one farmer's field, it will be impossible to stop it from spreading naturally, adding, "We can't segregate non-GM from conventional wheat. There is going to be contamination."

And, he said, once the wheat supply is contaminated with genetically modified grain, Canada will be shut out of markets in Europe, Japan, and other countries.