Brazil’s Biosafety Agency Authorized Imports of Transgenic Wheat Flour

Brazilian mills will call a meeting to try to revert the decision and are considering going to the Courts to suspend this ruling.

Brazilians are worried that GMO wheat flour from Argentina might take a toll on exports of products like pasta or cookies.
November 12, 2021 | 03:14 PM

The National Technical Commission for Biosafety (CTNBio), linked to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, released the imports of Argentine wheat flour, produced with a genetically modified variety of the cereal. The issue has been discussed and put on the agenda of the commission’s meetings since June and was finally approved this Thursday (11).

With this, a problem that had been created was solved. It is estimated that Argentine producers have irregularly cultivated between 55,000 and 60,000 hectares with the transgenic variety, which should generate about 200,000 tons of grain. The irregularity occurred in the sale of seeds, which could only be made after the release in Brazil, according to a ruling by the Undersecretary of Agricultural Markets of Argentina, a fact that occurred only today. With this, the irregular production can be transformed into flour and open the market in Brazil.

“Despite the strong rejection by the international market over the last 20 years, Brazil will unfortunately become known as the first country to approve the use of transgenic wheat in the world,” said the Brazilian Wheat Industry Association (Abitrigo) in a statement. The entity also informs that the possible impact on Brazilian exports of derivative products such as pasta, cookies and bread cannot be ignored.

The CTNBio’s favorable opinion indicates that, technically, the product does not offer risks to animal or human consumption, nor to the environment. However, Abitrigo will comply with a decision anticipated by Bloomberg Línea. The entity will request the Civil House the immediate convening of the National Biosafety Committee (CNBS) to try to revert the decision. By taking the debate to the CNBS, the wheat mills recognize that the barriers to transgenic wheat are not in the technical aspect, but in the socioeconomic field.

Among the attributions of the CNBS is to analyze the socioeconomic convenience and opportunity and the national interest, the requests for release for commercial use of GMOs and their by-products and to give the final word on the processes relative to the activities that involve the commercial use of GMOs and their by-products.