Biotechnology’s introduction 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.
APHIS Investigation on Oregon GE Wheat Incident
U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) were notified Friday, Sept. 26 that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has completed its investigation into the May 2013 discovery of an unapproved Roundup Ready (RR) trait in isolated volunteer wheat plants. APHIS has determined that the source of the RR trait is inconclusive but reconfirmed that there is no indication that any wheat with this regulated trait has entered the commercial supply chain. This is consistent with the results of independent testing by Japan and Korea that has 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:
- APHIS Q&A Genetically Engineered Wheat Investigation
- USDA Statement
- USDA Video on APHIS Announcement
New Investments in Since 2008
The wheat industry’s decision to support biotechnology research in wheat has spurred research in wheat across the board – using every type of technology, including conventional breeding. Since 2008, multiple private technology providers have announced increased investments in wheat breeding and their interest in partnering with public research programs. The wheat industry is excited about these developments and hopeful these efforts will lead to greater sustainability for the entire wheat chain. See a list of key investments since 2008 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.
NAWG supports voluntary labeling of food products that is consistent with U.S. law and international trade agreements and is truthful and not misleading (see our policy statement here). The American Medical Association reached a similar conclusion after reviewing the issue, stating, “AMA believes that as of June 2012, 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.”
More than three-quarters of wheat growers responding to a 2009 NAWG survey approved a petition supporting the commercialization of biotechnology in wheat. For more, click here. Also, an extensive analysis of comments included in survey responses, click here.
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.
“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.