Monsanto Pulls Applications for Genetically Modified Wheat, WORC Urges State Policies On New Genetically Modified CropsResponsible Decision Avoids Disaster For Wheat Farmers

Original Publication Date: 
17 June, 2004
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News and Updates > Monsanto Pulls Applications for Genetically Modified Wheat,
                                       WORC urges state policies on new genetically modified crops
                                       Responsible decision avoids disaster for wheat farmers

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, June 18, 2004
CONTACT: Wayne Fisher, 701-225-2563, WORC spokesperson; John Smillie or Kevin Dowling, WORC staff, 406-252-9672

BILLINGS, MONT. - Monsanto's withdrawal of applications for approval of genetically modified wheat gives state lawmakers an opportunity to develop policies on new genetically modified crops before they hit crisis stage, the Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) said today.

Monsanto has withdrawn all submissions it had made for regulatory approval of Roundup Ready wheat, except to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the company said today. Last month, Monsanto announced it was deferring research and development of genetically modified wheat indefinitely.

"We applaud Monsanto for this responsible decision," said Wayne Fisher, a wheat grower from Dickinson, N.D., and WORC spokesperson. "Monsanto has honored our wishes as well as those of grain buyers and foreign consumers. Failure to do so would have meant a disaster for wheat farmers. This gives our state legislatures the space they need to craft laws to deal with new genetically modified crops before they hit crisis stage."

A WORC report on the market risk of genetically modified wheat indicated that European and Asian grain buyers would refuse to buy any spring or durum wheat from states or regions growing genetically modified wheat. As a result, the price of spring wheat would decline by at least one-third if genetically modified wheat was introduced commercially within the next two to six years, according to the report released in October.

Fisher said WORC will continue to monitor Monsanto and other biotech companies developing genetically modified wheat.

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WORC is a network of grassroots organizations from seven states that include 8,750 members and 49 local community groups. WORC represents farmers and ranchers in Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Colorado, Idaho, and Oregon. WORC's report on market risk is available at www.worc.org.


U.S. WHEAT ASSOCIATES
Wheat Letter "Addendum"
June 18, 2004

MONSANTO WITHDRAWS ROUNDUP READY WHEAT REGULATORY SUBMISSIONS

Consistent with Monsanto's recent announcement to defer the commercialization of Roundup Ready wheat so that they can focus on other crops and traits, the company has formally withdrawn all regulatory submissions in all countries where submissions have taken place, except the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Monsanto has requested completion of the U.S. FDA consultation to confirm the food and feed safety of Roundup Ready wheat. This action is supported by the American wheat and food industry, and the submission is technically complete, requiring minimal agency resources to complete.

Since the wheat will not be grown in the U.S., the U.S. Department of Agriculture regulatory review is no longer necessary and so Monsanto has withdrawn their regulatory submission to that department.

"Monsanto's follow-up announcement gives finality to their earlier decision on Roundup Ready wheat," said Alan Tracy, president of U.S. Wheat Associates. "We appreciate that FDA will complete its reviews of health aspects of Roundup Ready wheat, so that the concerns of critics can be answered." Officials from Monsanto told USW that the decision was based on discussions with all of the relevant regulatory authorities, who mutually agreed that withdrawing the submissions is the appropriate course of action at this time. These actions are in keeping with Monsanto's recent announcement to defer commercial development of Roundup Ready wheat until other biotechnology traits in wheat are introduced.

Dawn Forsythe
Director, Public Affairs
U.S. Wheat Associates
Washington, D.C.
202-463-0999
www.uswheat.org