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Dear Senator Wanzek

Also on CropChoice:

(July 9, 2002 -- CropChoice news) -- Here is a letter from an AGP representative in Europe to Terry M. Wanzek, chair of the North Dakota Interim Agriculture Committee that's meeting tomorrow to discuss biotech wheat.

To Senator Terry M. Wanzek:

Hereafter I send you a copy of the letter I wrote to US Wheat early in 2001. At that time, this letter for sure reached the interested persons. Rereading it today I am even more convinced of being an opponent of GMO-HRS WHEAT. We do not want it, we do not need it.

Right now, we had feed scandals in Germany (nitrofen), in the Netherlands (mpa), all of these events get a lot of attention on the front pages and on television. Consumers do not want an extra problem, and especially not in their daily bread. We Europeans have a real bread culture, our bread remains very delicious and an important part of our way of living.

This week the European parliament voted on both traceability and labelling of GMO's, the actual report is even more strict and less flexible than the Commission's original proposal, the vote was attended by over 87% of the members of the European parliament, and a very significant majority voted in favor.

When placing a product on the market, including bulk commodities, operators will have to ensure the following information is accessible:

(a) that it consists or contains of GMO's
(b) the relevant unique codes assigned to the GMO's

A bread labelled, contains GMO, probably remains on the shelves after closing hours.

European millers recognize HRS/CWRS being the best wheat in the world, however when genetically modified we go for the alternatives.


His 2001 letter to U.S. Wheat Associates:


This report has not the pretension to be scientific. Rather, we will try to give you our opinion as a marketer of Hard Red Spring Wheat for many years.

Over the last few years, Europe accounted for about 16-17 percent of the US Hard Red Spring Wheat exports.

European importers/traders of US wheat had to face stiff competition from high quality German, French, and/or Canadian wheat.

HRS wheat managed to retain its market share (despite a price disadvantage) only due to the traditional reputation for real good quality wheat, and due to major efforts of US farmers, exporters and importers to take care of high standards in order to provide even better quality as contractually foreseen.

For more than two years, all our contracts already stipulate, as most European millers requested, "non-genetically modified wheat."

European millers use HRS wheat for blending purposes in their most luxurious flour. It is the miller who decides the composition of his mix. The final consumer is not always aware of the presence of US wheat in the luxurious bakery products he is consuming. The consumer is asking only for the best (safest) value for money. Food quality is a growing concern among the consumers over here and, as usual, the politicians are following suit.

Environmentalists and media report daily on these items. Currently in Europe, genetically modified organisms are classified under one name with MAD COW DISEASE/BSE/MBM/DIOXIN/PCB/Frankenstein food etc...

In our opinion, it is unacceptable that a fine commodity is genetically modified just for the purpose of making it herbicide resistant; this does not offer a single advantage to the world.

Monsanto's marketing research of 1,000 consumers is a joke. We have the impression they put forward a question for a desired answer. We propose another question: "What do you fear most, growing fat or mad?" We believe to know the answer and anybody with a deviant opinion is already suffering from that disease.

With competitive high quality wheat of non-GMO origin (French/German/Canadian) available at a normal price, we are absolutely convinced the European miller will abandon GMO HRS wheat. GMO wheat for sure will be a market destructor.


TRY OUR NEW HAMBURGER (special made out of hormone-treated cows fed with GMO-beans) ON OUR DELICIOUS SANDWICH (from luxurious GMO-wheat) ...IS SPOILED MONEY.


Jef Smidts

For some background, please see the following recent CropChoice stories: