What’s the problem with genetically engineered wheat found in Oregon?

by Cassady Sharp

May 30, 2013

Genetically modified wheat fields in Aberdeen, Saskatchewan.

© Greenpeace / Thomas Porter

[caption id="attachment_18195" align="alignleft" width="360"]Genetically modified wheat fields in Aberdeen, Saskatchewan. Genetically modified wheat fields in Aberdeen, Saskatchewan.[/caption] You may have heard the news that the USDA found genetically engineered wheat in an Oregon field. The USDA has never approved genetically engineered wheat for US farming so how did it get here? According to officials, the wheat is the same strand of a tested seed from Monsanto 10 years ago. This discovery is problematic for US agriculture trade as the US exports half of its wheat crop, and several countries do not accept genetically engineered crops. "This outbreak ofGEwheatgrowing in the US confirms our concerns thatGEcrops cannot be controlled. This is the latest in a long line of incidents involving the contamination of our food supply withGEcrops not approved for human consumption," saidGreenpeace International scientist Janet Cotter."The developers ofGEwheathave repeatedly said thatGEwheatwill not contaminate conventional or organicwheatbecause it is predominantly self-pollinating (i.e. the pollen does not spread very far, unlike crops such as maize and oilseed rape). Despite these empty promises,GEcontamination has happened." The Agriculture Department is investigating how the wheat got to the US, and how far it may have spread.

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