The eventual introduction of biotechnology into the wheat crop is necessary to increase productivity, attract acres back to the crop and feed a growing global population in a sustainable way.
NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates are grower-governed and grower-funded organizations leading the efforts to add biotechnology to the tools used by breeders to improve wheat varieties. We are supportive of the technology because our grower-leadership understands what’s at stake for wheat producers and the industry. And, we are committed to working with players throughout the wheat chain, as well as our domestic and international customers, to demonstrate support for the technology and ensure key milestones are met before any trait is introduced into the market.
NAWG supports H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, that would create a national, science-based labeling standard for foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and is consistent with our policy supporting voluntary labeling of these foods (see our policy statement here). The American Medical Association reached a similar conclusion in June 2012 after reviewing the issue, stating, “, there is no scientific justification for special labeling of bioengineered foods, as a class, and that voluntary labeling is without value unless it is accompanied by focused consumer education.”
Trilateral Statement of Support
In June 2014, 16 grower groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia – three of the world’s largest producers and exporters of wheat – released a joint statement reconfirming their commitment to working toward synchronized commercialization of biotech traits in their wheat crops. See the full statement here.
NAWG’s policy in this area is formulated by the NAWG and U.S. Wheat Joint Biotechnology Committee and approved by the NAWG Board of Directors. Wheat producers’ official statements on wheat biotechnology are outlined in the NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates Biotechnology Position Statement and Principles for Commercialization.
“The Case for Biotech Wheat”
In September 2009, five wheat industry organizations released “The Case for Biotech Wheat,” an eight-page paper outlining why biotech wheat is essential to address the competitiveness problem facing global wheat production and the wheat industry itself. The paper explains why this matters for the entire food chain – wheat growers, wheat users at home and abroad, and consumers in the industrialized and developing worlds.
APHIS Investigation on Oregon GE Wheat Incident
In 2014 USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) determined that the source of the RR trait was inconclusive but reconfirmed that there is no indication that any wheat with this regulated trait entered the commercial supply chain. This is consistent with the results of independent testing by Japan and Korea that did not identified a single event among all classes of U.S. wheat exported to those countries. APHIS also noted that in 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded that the Roundup Ready trait in wheat did not pose a health risk in food or animal feed. Continue Reading..
Additional Resources on the APHIS Report: