The European flour millers supply flour from conventional wheat

Conventional wheat

The use of biotechnology in crop production has grown around the world since the mid 1990s, with large areas of GM crops being cultivated in North and South America and widespread adoption in India and China. Around the world, more than 100 million hectares are now planted to GM crops. As yet, there has been no commercialisation of GM wheat anywhere in the world, hence all wheat flour (and food made from it) is of conventional origin. The European flour millers have indicated that they will continue to supply flour milled from conventional wheat (i.e. non-GM).

No GM wheat are commercially available

No genetically modified wheat are commercially available in Europe. Current indications are that the first GM varieties may be grown in Canada or the US, to be available only in a minimum of several year's time.

The European flour milling industry has always been sensitive to concerns on this subject and has been actively involved in promoting consumer choice.

New Genomic Techniques and breeding innovation

Millers support the Commission’s proposal to initiate a policy action for adapting the legislation: the way to regulate new breeding techniques should be reconsidered, taking into account the challenges ahead and the consumer benefits they could bring, while continuing to ensure a high level of protection and caring for societal concerns. They provide a promising potential for the European consumers, as they are likely to help address some of the sustainability challenges we are facing, like:

• Disease resistance, thus reducing the need for pesticides;
• Drought tolerance, to adapt to climate change;
• Improved nutritional quality;
• Reduced allergenicity (the potential to cause an allergic reaction)

Public acceptability and consumer benefits

The European flour milling community will continue to supply flour from conventional wheat. If genetically modified wheats were to become available, millers would have to be convinced of their public acceptability and practical potential for the consumers before using them.