GMO Wheat Found In Oregon Field. How Did It Get There?

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A farmer in Oregon has found some genetically engineered wheat growing on his land. It’s an unwelcome surprise, because this type of wheat has never been approved for commercial planting.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it’s , trying to find out how this wheat got there. The USDA says there’s no risk to public health, but wheat are worried about how their customers in Asia and Europe will react.

GMO Wheat Found In Oregon Field

In fact, worry about export markets is the main reason why genetically engineered wheat isn’t on the market in the first place.

The biotech company Monsanto did create varieties of wheat that tolerate the weedkiller glyphosate, or Roundup — just as it created “Roundup Ready” corn, soybeans, cotton and canola. It also carried out field trials of this wheat in 16 different states.

But the country’s wheat growers told the company that they did not want it.

“We are not in favor of commercializing any biotech trait unless it’s gone through regulatory approvals in the U.S. and in other countries,” says Steve Mercer, vice president of communications for . Many countries, including some that import wheat from the U.S., are quite hostile to genetically engineered crops.

Monsanto dropped the wheat project. It never asked for government approval, and it ended its field trials of wheat in 2005.

Fast forward eight years. About a month ago, a farmer in eastern Oregon noticed some wheat plants growing where he didn’t expect them, and they didn’t die when he sprayed them with Roundup.

The farmer sent samples of these curious plants to , a scientist at Oregon State University who has investigated other cases in which genetically engineered crops spread beyond their approved boundaries.

She found that this wheat was, in fact, genetically engineered. She passed samples on to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which confirmed her results.

Bernadette Juarez, an official with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said in a that her agency is collecting more samples from the farm, conducting more tests. “We have a team of dedicated investigators working on the ground daily to figure out what’s going on here,” she says.

Nobody knows how this wheat got to this farm. in Oregon were in 2001. After all such trials, the genetically engineered crops are supposed to be completely removed.

Also, nobody knows how widely this genetically engineered wheat has spread, and whether it’s been in fields of wheat that were harvested for food.

According to the USDA, even if it has, there’s no danger to public health.
Still, if further tests show that this unapproved wheat has spread into the food supply, it could play havoc with wheat sales.

In 2006, traces of genetically engineered rice — also unapproved — were discovered in large parts of the American rice harvest. That discovery shut down America’s rice exports to some countries. Exporters lost millions of dollars. The wheat harvest is much bigger.

Steve Mercer, from U.S. Wheat Associates, says there’s no indication that this will happen to wheat. Right now, it’s just a few isolated plants growing in eastern Oregon.

“We’re in the process of getting in touch with all of our customers,” he says. “We are going to work to make sure that they have all the information that they need to make their decisions, and reassure them that this isolated trait hasn’t entered commerce.”

So far, he says, those customers aren’t making any decisions. They’re just asking for more information.

Source: npr

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3 Responses

  1. gary says:

    when people and nations refuse to buy products, it will cause a change in the way our big corporations work. The most power we consumers (and consumer nations have is our ability to refuse to buy products.

  2. Kelly says:

    With so many countries banning GMOs and refusing to import GMO crops, this just may be the “wake up” call that we need to push congress into action. America depends on Agricultural exports and obviously Monsanto crops are threatening to severely reduce our ability to export which is going to have a radical effect on the gross national product.

    Congress needs to realize that if Monsanto isn’t stopped, they are going to put American farmers and exporters out of business. Congress obviously doesn’t have any concern that GMO crops are dangerous to our health, but if GMOs threaten America’s money interests, I’ll bet they’ll take action.

  3. Vaughan Harran says:

    “USDA says there’s no risk to public health, but wheat are worried about how their customers in Asia and Europe will react.”
    Sounds like the Asian & European customers don’t trust the USDA and definitely don’t trust Monsta’s poison impregnated food. Wonder why anyone would be worried about how customers would react to the “perfect” and “perfectly safe” wonder product. Perfectly safe would imply that the bees are being destroyed by small farmers that we all know are a serious threat to to National Security. Consume raw milk! How dare they?
    Cannabis is banned because it is a real “Wonder” plant, and some people do a little thing called guerrilla planting to enable themselves to benefit from this non GM wonder herb. Maybe someone is gorilla planting these unwanted GM seeds for their own agenda.
    Hopefully everybody rejects the Monsta sh*t and the leaders of the USA grow balls.

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