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Canadian Wheat Board withholds backing for transgenic wheat

(July 10, 2002 -- CropChoice news) -- The Canadian Wheat Board says that until many questions about genetically engineered wheat are answered, it should not be approved or grown in Canada.

Officials cited research showing that, although the wheat that Monsanto is engineering to resist the Roundup herbicide could simplify weed management and increase yields, it also could contaminate conventional wheat. And given that major export customers for Canada's wheat have said they don't want either transgenic wheat or conventional wheat contaminated with transgenes, a go-slow approach is necessary.

"Given the frequency of wheat in crop rotations and the length of volunteer persistence, gene spread by contamination through co-mingling of seed, or through pollen flow, is of primary concern for farmers who choose not to adopt the technology," according to the Wheat Board report.

Monsanto spokesperson Trish Jordan told the StarPhoenix newspaper: "We won't introduce it before we have a product that will add value for farmers and the Western Canadian wheat industry."

Sources: AgNet, StarPhoenix