Monsanto has really done it this time.
As recently reported by CNBC1 and other media outlets,2, 3 an unapproved strain of genetically engineered (GE) wheat has been found growing on a farm in Oregon. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the anomaly on May 29.As it turns out, the Roundup Ready (i.e. glyphosate-resistant) strain of wheat was developed by Monsanto and field tested in 16 different states between 1998 and 2005.Plans to bring it to market were abandoned King amendment is due to opposition against genetically engineered wheat. Many countries importing US wheat do not permit GE ingredients in their food, or require such foods to be labeled.About 50 percent of the wheat grown in the US is exported. The finding of illegal GE wheat contamination may dramatically alter this ratio however.Japan and Korea has already suspended orders of US wheat4 in response to the findings. The EU has ordered member states to test imported wheat for contamination.
The economic impact to wheat farmers could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Washington and Kansas wheat farmers have already filed lawsuits against Monsanto due to the immediate harm this disaster has created.
The effects will not be limited to wheat, as importing countries question what other genetic experiments may have escaped the lab and contaminated natural varieties. Monsanto has clearly stated they will leverage the fact they followed government protocol and therefore cannot be held accountable for this mess. The biotech industry is also defending Monsanto, suggesting ‘activists’ must have set them up.
The biotech industry has so strongly infiltrated and influenced the government agriculture and ‘health’ agencies they should be considered subsidiaries.
How Did Unapproved GE Wheat Survive More than a Decade After Last Field Trial?
Monsanto and other biotech companies have repeatedly promised that their creations will not escape its intended confines. Today, after hundreds of farmers have been sued for patent infringement after Monsanto’s patented seeds were found growing where they weren’t supposed to, we know how ridiculous such assertions are.The present situation is even more disturbing, as it shows that field trials alone might have the potential to cause permanent cross-contamination. During a seven-year period, between 1998 and 2005, field tests were conducted in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming.5Monsanto resumed field trials of Roundup Ready wheat last year, planting 150 acres in Hawaii. Furthermore, according to a report by Bloomberg:6“Another permit allows Monsanto to test wheat with multiple traits, including Roundup tolerance, on 300 acres in North Dakota this year. Monsanto said May 29 in a statement that it ended its program to develop Roundup Ready wheat nearly a decade before the USDA announced this week that the experimental crop was discovered growing on an Oregon farm. The Roundup Ready wheat in the new field trials is ‘an entirely different event’ than the escaped crop reported by the USDA, Monsanto said.‘This research is still in the very early phases and at least a decade away from commercial approval,’ Lee Quarles, a Monsanto spokesman, said in an e-mail response to questions today. ‘The Roundup Ready wheat project that is the subject of the USDA report was previously discontinued.’”So, by their own admission, Monsanto agrees that the presence of GE wheat in Oregon is not due to any recent activity on their part, but must be the result of escaped wheat going back to field tests well over a decade ago! I wonder if they even realize how significant such an admission is as it seems to be proof positive that they have no control over what happens to their products. No GE wheat seed was ever permitted to be sold, and the last field trial in Oregon was in 2001. As to how the farmer made the discovery in the first place, NPR7 reports:“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 Carol Mallory-Smith, 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 US Department of Agriculture, which confirmed her results.”