May 11, 2004

GMO Wheat Postponed

Roundup Ready wheat is in a holding pattern.
St. Louis-based Monsanto has been doing field tests of Roundup Ready wheat, which has been genetically modified to tolerate applications of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, for six years and spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the project.

The company already has successfully commercialized Roundup Ready corn and soybeans, key feedgrains, and had hoped to spread its herbicide-resistant technology into the vast wheat-growing industry, starting in the United States and Canadian markets.

But the company's efforts have ignited an outpouring of opposition by environmentalists, farmers, consumers and religious groups, as well as foreign wheat buyers. Concerns include worries about possible human health hazards, increased weed resistance and fears that Monsanto is gaining control over key world crops.
It's an instance of of what the market will bear (which is good) driven by the perceived (and probably likely so) lack of demand by foreign countries. I'm not telling you anything you don't already know here.

What materials do Europeans and Asians use to form opinions about biotechnology? The Canadian Wheat Board is administering an ad campaign to oppose GMO wheat. I see packaging on some of the foods that I eat that proclaims said products to be GMO free. No print ads, though, and nothign in the limited television I watch. Suppose I should wait for the GMO-bashing pop-under ad. And then Brian can mock it.

Wait...I know why it's far less of an issue here. Nobody eats wheat anymore. But that soy...


Posted by hln at May 11, 2004 06:30 AM | General News | TrackBack

The one thing that bugs me about this stuff is the intellectual-property angle. If you buy this seed from Monsanto and plant a crop, you're not allowed to save any seed for the next season: you have to buy a quantity that passes muster with the company, and a quantity of Roundup that they consider appropriate for that usage level. And God forbid you should have wind and your neighbor on the north should find himself with a smattering of RR crops - it's your fault for exercising inadequate controls.

That, more than any overblown health considerations, is enough to make me distrust the stuff.

Posted by: CGHill at May 11, 2004 06:45 PM