GE Wheat Found Growing Wild in Oregon

Mark Keating's picture

On May 29, USDA announced that a western white wheat variety genetically engineered to withstand applications of the herbicide glyphosate (RoundUp©) had been discovered growing wild in an Eastern Oregon field.  The ultimate source of the wheat is no mystery: USDA confirmed that it was the same variety which Monsanto had been authorized to field test in sixteen states, including Oregon, between 1998 and 2005.  What remains unknown is how the wheat, which was never approved for commercial release, migrated from those research fields onto a commercial farm.

We also don't know how far, if at all, genetically engineered wheat has entered into the food supply.  Citing safety concerns, Japan, the leading importer of American wheat, suspended its orders from the Pacific Northwest following USDA's announcement.  This decision impacts not only Oregon's wheat farmers, who export ninety percent of their annual production, but fellow wheat farmers in Washington and Idaho who are also losing market access.

Our twenty-plus year experiment with genetically modified seeds has brought new meaning to the term “unintended consequences” as we continue to  uncover adverse ecological and economic impacts  Let's put our faith in what we know works and what are farmers can be proud to sell to their neighbors, whether at home or around the world: safe, high quality organic food.

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