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GM Wheat Roundly Rejected in Key Markets

GM Wheat Roundly Rejected in Key Markets


Media Statement 16 November 2002

"As New Zealand moves a step closer to allowing GM crops to be grown, plans to launch the next major GM variety have gone on hold in the US" said Sustainability Council Chair, Sir Peter Elworthy.

Monsanto is holding back its plans to release a GM variety of wheat after strong negative reactions to the idea from buyers in key Asian and European markets.

"Yesterday was the last day for submissions on proposed changes to the Act that regulates GM release" said Sir Peter.

"The law changes are part of the Government's drive to lift the moratorium on GM release in less than a year" said Sir Peter.

"This when market rejection of the latest proposed GM product has been overwhelming" he said.

A market survey by U.S. Wheat Associates found that all representatives for Chinese, Korean and Japanese wheat buyers contacted said they would not buy or use Roundup Ready wheat.

The Japanese Food Agency, a major buyer of US wheat said Japanese flour millers would not even buy wheat that may simply contain trace quantities of GM. Japan was the largest buyer of US wheat this year.

In August, Italy's biggest miller, Grandi Molini Italiani SpA, said it would refuse to import genetically modified (GM) wheat or any wheat from countries where GM wheat is grown.

The wheat buyer at Rank Hovis, which controls 30% of the milling and the baking industries in the UK, said: "I cannot tell you how to run your business - but if you do grow genetically modified - or enhanced - wheat, we will not be able to buy any of your wheat - neither the GM nor the conventional. The latter because we will not be able to guarantee the integrity of even the conventional to zero content of GM."

ENDS

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