News & Politics

Monsanto Mystery Wheat Appears in Oregon, No One Knows Why

How did genetically modified wheat wind up in Oregon?

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How did genetically modified wheat produced by the agricultural corporation Monsanto end up in Oregon? That’s the question many people want answered after the discovery of the wheat by a farmer in Oregon, according to a report in the New Scientist.

Genetically modified wheat has not been cleared for commercial use anywhere in the world, though the Federal Drug Administration approved it as safe for human consumption in 2004. It was never put on the market in the U.S., though, since Monsanto dropped it after citing a lack of demand. The Associated Press reported that the wheat was also not developed because "wheat growers did not want to risk retaliation from their biggest export markets."

Now, the question is how that wheat ended up in Oregon. Raw Story notes that the farmer who found the wheat discovered it after trying to clear the field it was growing in. The wheat didn’t die, though, even after the farmer used the Monsanto-produced herbicide called Roundup.

Monsanto says it is working with the FDA to discover how the crop, known as Roundup Ready wheat, wound up in Oregon. Production of the wheat occurred in 17 states, including Oregon, but not at the farm where it was discovered, according to Raw Story.

The discovery of the genetically-modified wheat has had international implications. South Korea and Japan temporarily suspended imports of U.S. wheat in response to the news. Monsanto says it doesn’t think the wheat entered into the commercial supply strain, the New Scientistreports.


Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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