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Canadian Wheat Board urges Ottawa to reject genetically modified wheat

(Friday, April 4, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- CP Wire, 04/03 via Agnet: WINNIPEG - The Canadian Wheat Board was cited as urging Ottawa on Thursday to create new rules allowing the government to reject genetically modified wheat even if it is considered safe for the environment and for animal and human consumption.

Board chairman Ken Ritter was cited as telling the Commons standing committee on agriculture that action is necessary because multinational biotech giant Monsanto Canada Inc.'s glyphosate-tolerant wheat, known as Roundup Ready spring wheat, could be approved for sale as early as next year, adding, "The urgency of this issue cannot be overstated. Being shut out of premium wheat markets around the world could cost farmers hundreds of millions of dollars per year."

The story says that with annual sales of between $4 billion and $6 billion, the Canadian Wheat Board is one of Canada's biggest exporters. It sells more than 20 million tonnes of wheat and barley to over 70 countries each year.

Ritter was further cited as saying that he does not question the science underlying the existing regulatory process, which allows the government to reject modified crops if they don't meet food, feed or environmental safety standards, but he thinks the analysis should investigate the costs of segregating engineered from non-engineered wheat and of controlling herbicide-resistant genetically modified wheat plants that turn up in other crops.

The full text of Ritter's remarks to the Standing Committee is posted on the CWB Web site at: http://gm14.com/r.html?c=189997&r=189588&t=54541178&l=1&d=82374359&u=http:// www.cwb.ca/en/topics/gmo_wheat/industry-support.jsp,&g=0&f=-1 along with materials > (http://www.cwb.ca/en/topics/gmo_wheat/index.jsp) referenced in the > presentation.