Genetically engineered wheat investigation continues

As of June 14, USDA announced that the investigation of the genetically engineered wheat from Monsanto discovered in an Oregon field has not found anything that would indicate that the incident amounts to more than a single isolated incident in a single field on a single farm.

“All information collected so far shows no indication of the presence of GE wheat in commerce. Investigators are conducting a thorough review. They have interviewed the person that harvested the wheat from this field as well as the seed supplier who sold the producer wheat seed; obtained samples of the wheat seed sold to the producer and other growers; and obtained samples of the producer’s wheat harvests, including a sample of the producer’s 2012 harvest,” said Matt Paul, USDA Office of Communications Director. “All of these samples of seed and grain tested negative for the presence of GE material. Investigators are continuing to conduct interviews with approximately 200 area growers.”

The investigation used (and validated) an event-specific DNA-based PCR method for finding the MON71800 wheat event that is the focus of the investigation. The USDA validation process included a specificity study and a sensitivity study. Through the process, USDA determined that the method can reliably detect MON71800 when it is present at a frequency of 1 in 200 kernels. Additionally, USDA has provided this validated DNA test method to detect this specific GE variety to our trading partners that have requested it.

“Major markets, such as Japan, Korea and Taiwan, have postponed imports of U.S. white wheat as they continue to study information from U.S. officials to determine what, if any, future action may be required. USDA officials will continue to provide information as quickly as possible as the investigation continues — with a top priority on giving our trading partners the tools they need to ensure science-based trade decisions,” Paul said.

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