A couple of years ago, the National Barley Growers Association decided to reverse their long-held opposition to genetically-engineered (GE) barley, also referred to as “GMO.” Barley acreage decreased sharply over recent years as farmers switched their fields over to GE crops like corn, soy, canola, and now wheat. The decision for barley farmers to open the door to GE crops came from an understandable fear of losing too many farmers to GE crops. Check out New Belgium’s statement below on the topic of GE barley.
New Belgium statement on genetically engineered barley
As a brewer, New Belgium needs barley to be competitive with other crops that (unlike barley) are genetically engineered so that growers will continue to provide reliable, affordable sources of barley malt. We understand the pressure on farmers to increase yields and decrease risk. Therefore, we realize that many are looking to the technology of genetic engineering to keep barley an economically viable crop. However, New Belgium believes the effects of genetically engineered crops on human health, ecological impact, and long-term agricultural viability are not yet fully understood. While no commercially available genetically engineered barley varieties are available in North America at this time, this may change in the future. We want to preserve a choice for New Belgium and others who wish to source non-genetically engineered ingredients. Likewise, we believe consumers have a right to know if any product they consume contains genetically engineered ingredients.
GE barley does not exist today, and we hope identity-preserved (non-GE) barley always remains available and affordable.
In the meantime, New Belgium is supportive of campaigns, national and state-wide, to label products containing GE ingredients so that consumers are empowered to make their own decisions.