Consumers still not ready for GM wheat

A recent report by Iowa State University grain market analyst Bob Wisner says that consumers in major international markets are still opposed to the introduction of genetically modified Roundup Ready wheat. This is especially true in the European Union. This view appears to apply to either herbicide-resistant or fusarium-resistant GM wheat.

Wisner says there have been no technological developments that would significantly reduce the costs of segregating GM and non-GM wheat supplies in marketing channels. He says development of a low-cost acceptable segregation system would increase the likelihood of market acceptance of GM wheat.

Wisner writes, “Despite a WTO ruling that EU unnecessarily delayed approval of several GM corn events (varieties), a number of EU countries have partial or total restrictions on production of GM crops, and more than 3,500 elected local governments and 170 specific regions in Europe declared themselves to be GM-free.” As a result, he says some developing countries could conceivably pattern their GM policies after the EU format.

Wisner points out that highly publicized studies showing serious safety issues with a type of GM corn reported by the media in Europe could have caused increasingly negative reactions toward GM foods among some consumers.

Wisner says consumers may have a more positive view of new low linolenic soybean varieties that offer potential health benefits to consumers through reduced risk of heart disease. While developed through conventional breeding, the soybeans contain the GM herbicide resistant trait. However, Wisner says there is no indication that these soybeans have changed international consumer attitudes toward GM foods.
© Copyright The Organic & Non-GMO Report 2006. (October 2006).