Reclaiming the future of food and farming

Monsanto’s Rogue GE Wheat Highlights Likelihood of Field Contamination

May 30, 2013

Monsanto’s Rogue GE Wheat Highlights Likelihood of Field Contamination

Yesterday, USDA announced that a farmer in Oregon found RoundUp-Ready wheat growing on his land — a crop that the Monsanto Corporation had field-tested in the state but had never been approved for use. While Monsanto is downplaying the implications of the news, Japan put an immediate hold on imports of U.S. wheat, and several other countries that restrict genetically engineered (GE) products — including South Korea, China and countries in the European Union — are monitoring the situation closely.

PAN’s Senior Scientists, Dr. Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, comments on the USDA announcement and points to additional implications:

"The inexplicable emergence of Monsanto's GE wheat plants in an Oregon field, over a decade after the company's last field trials in the state, shows two things: First, once released into the environment, the GE genie does not willingly go back into the bottle. And secondly, we cannot rely on the Big 6 biotech/pesticide companies to protect the integrity of our food and farming systems.

The rogue GE wheat plants have rightly captured today's news. Meanwhile, we have had nearly two-dozen other major incidents of corporate noncompliance with the U.S. Agriculture Department's already notoriously lax rules on GE crops. Several years back, Bayer's experimental GE rice contaminated our rice supply, eliciting import bans from critical European and Japanese markets. And a GE corn approved only for animal feed ‘somehow’ got into our tacos and corn chips.

So long as we allow the world's biggest pesticide and GE companies to call the shots and control the crops we grow and what we eat, we will be vulnerable to continual contamination of our farms and our food supply.”