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GM crops 'too much of a hot potato' for Interflour boss

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Genetically modified organisms are "political dynamite" warns Greg Harvey, chief executive of Interflour, one of Asia's largest millers.

But other forms of biotechnology, such as gene editing, could offer higher yields and quality, with less opposition, Mr Harvey told delegates at the Agrimoney Investment Forum.

Singapore-based Interflour, one of the world's largest flour millers, buys 6m tonnes of wheat annually, primarily from Australia, and supplies flour across South East Asia and Turkey.

The company aims to be among world's top 10 millers by 2018.

Political dynamite

Despite the benefits offered by genetically modified technology, Mr Harvey warned of the scale of political and consumer opposition.

"I don't know if it's going to make it", he said, suggesting that the potential of the technology could fail to be realised.

Mr Harvey said the technology was "too much of a hot potato".

"[High profile] companies like Nestle will not have anything that contains GMOs," Mr Harvey said.

Gene editing potential

But other biotechnology, such as gene editing could prove "less controversial," said Mr Harvey.

Genome editing differs from conventional transgenic GM technology, in that it involves manipulation of the species' own DNA, as opposed to the introduction of DNA from other species.

Mr Harvey said the technology had the potential to improve the quality of crops, allowing for a higher yield of food from grain processing.

The regulatory status of genetically edited crops is currently ambiguous in some regions, including the EU.


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