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Six Things Everyone Should Know About Wheat

  • There is no genetically engineered wheat in today’s food system.
    • Today’s wheat varieties have been developed through conventional breeding over the last 150 years. There is no wheat in today’s food system that was grown from seeds that include genes from unrelated species.
  • Wheat provides 20% of the protein consumed by 4.5 billion people across the globe.1
    • It is estimated the number of people worldwide will increase from nearly 7 to more than 9 billion by 2050 and wheat will be a vital source of nutrients to support this booming population.
  • Conventional breeding of wheat has yielded wheat that is easier to grow and thrives in different – even difficult – environments, helping to ensure enough food to feed the world’s growing population.
    • Farmers and scientists have worked together for hundreds of years to develop wheat that makes better use of the land, water and fertilizer and is more resistant to damaging pests and diseases so that all the world’s people will have enough food.
  • The genetic components of wheat have not changed in 10,000 years.
    • While some modern wheat plants are shorter than their ancestors, wheat’s genetic makeup remains the same. Shorter plants are more efficient plants because they require less energy to grow and produce grain.
  • Wheat won a Nobel Peace Prize.
    • Dr. Norman Borlaug, one of the world’s preeminent plant breeders, was awarded the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for his work to develop high-yielding varieties of grain that are credited with saving over a billion people from starvation.
  • Fortification of enriched wheat flour with folic acid was named one of the top public health achievements of the 21st century.2
    • Folic acid fortification has been credited with reducing birth defects by one-third in the United States.


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1. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Second Global Conference on Research for Agricultural Development – Breakout Section: National Food Security – The Wheat Initiative. Available online at: http://www.fao.org/docs/eims/upload//306175/Briefing%20Paper%20(3)-Wheat%20Initative%20-%20H%C3%A9l%C3%A8ne%20Lucas.pdf

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ten great public health achievements—United States, 2001-2010. MMWR. 2011; 60: 619-623. Available online at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6019a5.htm



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