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GM wheat discovered contaminating wheat fields in Montana


GM wheat

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(NaturalNews) A field of unregulated genetically modified (GM) wheat has been discovered growing wild in Montana, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced.

No varieties of GM wheat have been approved for cultivation in the United States, but this is the second plot discovered growing on its own in less than a year and a half. Like the last such discovery, the new discovery in Montana may have a serious impact on the U.S. wheat export market.

Much of the wheat grown in the United States is exported to Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea -- which temporarily suspended imports from the United States following the discovery of GM wheat growing wild in Oregon last year.

Second Monsanto wheat scandal

Between 2000 and 2005, Monsanto conducted field trials on GM wheat plants engineered for resistance to the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup). When efforts to commercialize the wheat were abandoned, all remaining seed stock was supposedly destroyed.

But in May 2013, GM wheat plants exhibiting glyphosate resistance were found growing wild on more than 100 acres in Oregon, in fields that had never been used in the Monsanto trials. Although the company had re-initiated GM wheat research in 2011, supposedly no field trials have yet been conducted on these varieties.

The discovery raised concerns that neighboring commercial wheat fields might have been genetically contaminated by pollen from the GMO field. In response, several Asian nations temporarily banned U.S. wheat exports, dealing a major blow to U.S. farmers. The European Union began requiring more rigorous testing of U.S. wheat.

On September 26, the USDA issued the final report on its investigation into the Oregon case, declaring it an isolated incident.

"We were not able to make a conclusion as to how it happened," said Bernadette Juarez, who led the investigation.

Buried in the third paragraph of the press release about the Oregon report, the USDA also revealed that it was investigating a similar case, this time in Montana.

The USDA revealed that, in July 2013, Montana State University notified it of the detection of glyphosate-resistant volunteer wheat plants growing in a field managed by the university's Southern Agricultural Research Service in Huntley, Mont.

Unlike in the Oregon case, these fields had previously been used to field-test Monsanto's GM wheat between 2000 and 2003. The contamination was also limited to between one and three acres, rather than over a hundred.

The USDA is testing the wheat, which has been determined to be of a different variety than that found in Oregon. The agency believes that neither the Oregon nor Montana GM wheat entered the food supply.

Genetic contamination fears

More than 90 percent of the corn and soybeans grown in the United States have been genetically modified, but so far no GM wheat has been approved. By and large, farmers have been more reluctant to adopt GM wheat, because it is mostly consumed by humans rather than used for animal feed.

In addition, much of the wheat grown in the United States is exported to countries with strict regulations regarding the consumption of GMO food. Thus, farmers who grow for export have been concerned that if GM wheat is approved, it could contaminate the fields of even farmers who choose not to grow it (such as those growing for export).

Press releases from the USDA and from Montana State University attempted to downplay concerns over genetic contamination. For example, the university noted that the wheat was discovered before it had produced pollen. Yet, if the wheat growing in the fields dates back to Monsanto's clinical trials, it could have been growing and spreading pollen there for as long as 14 years already.

"Genetic contamination is a serious threat to farmers across the country," said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director for the Center for Food Safety.

Sources:

http://hosted.ap.org

http://www.takepart.com

http://truthwiki.org/Genetically_modified_cr...

http://science.naturalnews.com

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