GMO Wheat Investigation

GMO Wheat Investigation

GMO Wheat Investigation

I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.

Fallout continues over the discovery by an Oregon farmer of unauthorized genetically engineered wheat plants in his field. APHIS and OSU testing determined that the plant samples from the Oregon farm contained the glyphosate-resistant gene to resist the herbicide Roundup, which was developed and tested by Monsanto, but not marketed. Glen Squires, CEO of the Washington Grain Commission, comments on the USDA’s continuing investigation into the matter.

SQUIRES: Clearly the system has worked because here’s an unregulated event that occurred on one farm in one small location and the process quickly rose to the level of USDA APHIS investigation into that event. So, I think the process to ensure customers of what they are getting is there. We recognize that the USDA/ US Food and Drug Administration said that the trait poses no health risk, but still this is a concern for some customers so it’s important for us to find the answers about how this occurred - how widespread it is, and just to ensure that we maintain our markets.

And how important are those markets to Washington?

SQUIRES: Eighty-five to ninety percent of our wheat from Washington is exported. The value of production itself just at the farmgate is over a billion dollars, so if you add the export value on to that it just goes up from there.

There is currently no genetically engineered wheat approved for cultivation in the United States. Japan and South Korea have suspended imports of western white wheat and feed wheat. The EU is urging its member states to test certain wheat shipments from the United States. Preliminary tests on U.S. wheat and wheat flour imports by South Korea did not detect any GE wheat. Final test results are expected today.

Back in a minute.

I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Ag Information Network.

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