Stories like this one from Reuters are emerging about a new thrust by pro-biotech wheat interests in the U.S., Canada and Australia. The story says the U.S. National Association of Wheat Growers has signed up grain growers in Canada and Australia in a deal that would align the nations against any international backlash if and when a biotech wheat was introduced. It also reminds us biotech wheat has already gone down in flames once because of wary buyers.
I don’t think there’s any question about the inevitability of another backlash, unless there’s a concerted effort to explain biotech wheat to the public and underline what farmers see as its advantages to consumers. In the Reuters story, Canadian wheat growers talk about better quality and fewer pesticides. Those are certainly selling features to the public, although I’m not sure they now associate Canadian wheat with either mediocre quality or excessive pesticide use.