What is in this article?:
• The detection of GM wheat made headlines around the world, not merely because the needle was hard to find, but because it wasn’t supposed to exist at all.
• Genetically modified wheat was developed, tested, and proven safe for human consumption but it was not commercialized.
Is a safe product
This is a safe product. Both farmers and consumers would benefit from
its commercialization. It would allow wheat farmers to grow more food and reduce their production costs. These savings ultimately would find their way into grocery stores, where consumers would pay less for bread, cereal, pasta, and other products that come from our wheat fields.
This is more than merely a missed opportunity. Our wheat supply already suffers from a lack of biotechnology. Many farmers are switching away from wheat because it’s a less predictable crop than corn and soybeans, which have been improved so much by genetic modification.
On my own farm in North Dakota, we’ve been cutting back every year on wheat. We used to grow it on as much as 80 percent of our acreage. Now we’re down to about 10 percent, mainly because we prefer the advantages of biotechnology in corn and soybeans. My neighbors have been doing the same.
Convincing Americans about the advantages of biotechnology never has been the main issue. The United States, along with Canada and most of the Western hemisphere, already has accepted biotechnology as an excellent tool option for farmers and consumers.
It’s time for the rest of the world to catch up.
When news of the GM wheat discovery hit the media, our buyers in Japan and Korea immediately suspended purchases and promised to test samples. Europe said that it would increase its testing of wheat as well.
They almost certainly won’t find anything: It looks highly unlikely that any GM wheat entered the food supply. Korea’s first test results, announced last week, appeared to confirm this.
Yet the time to commercialize GM wheat is past due. The sooner everyone stops fussing over a safe and healthy product, the sooner farmers and consumers all over the world will benefit.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Terry Wanzekis a wheat, corn and soybean producer in North Dakota. He serves as a ND State Senator and volunteers as a board member for Truth About Trade & Technology (www.truthabouttrade.org).
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