We Need More Research on the Public Acceptance of GM Wheat, Says CEO



Paul Hetherington, CEO of the Baking Association of Canada says we need a better understanding of the public acceptance of genetically engineered wheat.

Hetherington spoke at the Western Association of Wheat Growers’ AGM in early January, with a presentation entitled The world as it is, not as we may want it to be. In the presentation, he identified three key challenges for wheat producers: mycotoxins, adventitious presence of allergens and biotechnology.

Related: Will Agriculture be Allowed to Feed 9 Billion? Rob Saik’s TEDx Talk

“What understanding is there in regards to consumer acceptand and demand,” Hetherington asks in an interview with Kelvin Heppner. It’s an issue the Baking Association has been trying to confront for a while (check out the Feb 28, 2002 meeting of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food).

“It’s fair to say we’re frustrated because, you know, we’ve been involved with and engaged in this process for a few years now and we still don’t have that understanding.”

It’s an issue that could cause great disturbance in the industry, if left unaddressed. and social media has a huge role, says Hetherington who argues proponents need to understand what concerns those on the other side of the fence, and how to address those concerns.

“A lot of these issues that we’ve been encountering, I think come down to transparency and being proactive in your information sharing.”

The Baking Association of Canada is in favour of choice, should biotech wheat enter Canada’s food chain.

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