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News 1413 views last update:14 Jan 2016

GM wheat in Oregon – an isolated incident

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have confirmed that the genetically modified (GM) wheat found in an Oregon field is “a single isolated incident in a single field on a single fare”.

The USDA began an investigation into the source of the wheat and the extent of the widespread on the 3rd May this year following its discovery by an Oregon farmer of the plants in his field.

Tests showed that the wheat was glyphosate-resistant wheat plants. It was also discovered that it was the same strain that had been legally field tested by Monsanto in 16 states from 1998 to 2005. It was never approved.

According to the USDA “all information collected so far shows no indication of the presence of GM wheat in commerce. Investigators are conducting a thorough review. They have interviewed the person that harvested the wheat from this field as well as the seed supplier who sold the producer wheat seed; obtained samples of the wheat seed sold to the producer and other growers; and obtained samples of the producer's wheat harvests, including a sample of the producer's 2012 harvest. All of these samples of seed and grain tested negative for the presence of GE material. Investigators are continuing to conduct interviews with approximately 200 area growers.”

On June 13, USDA validated an event-specific PCR (DNA-based) method for detecting MON71800 (provided by Monsanto to USDA on May 23, 2013). The USDA validation process included a specificity study and a sensitivity study. USDA determined that the method can reliably detect MON71800 when it is present at a frequency of 1 in 200 kernels. Additionally, USDA has provided this validated DNA test method to detect this specific GE variety to our trading partners that have requested it.

Major markets, such as Japan, Korea and Taiwan, have postponed imports of U.S. white wheat as they continue to study information from U.S. officials to determine what, if any, future action may be required. USDA officials will continue to provide information as quickly as possible as the investigation continues - with a top priority on giving our trading partners the tools they need to ensure science-based trade decisions.


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