|A variety of foods made from wheat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
|Wheat (Photo credit: Big Grey Mare)|
By Dr. Mercola
Monsanto has really done it this time.
As recently reported by CNBC1 and other media outlets,2, 3 an unapproved strain of genetically engineered (GE) wheat has been found growing on a farm in Oregon. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the anomaly on May 29.As it turns out, the Roundup Ready (i.e. glyphosate-resistant) strain of wheat was developed by Monsanto and field tested in 16 different states between 1998 and 2005.Plans to bring it to market were abandoned due to opposition against genetically engineered wheat. Many countries importing US wheat do not permit GE ingredients in their food, or require such foods to be labeled.About 50 percent of the wheat grown in the US is exported. The finding of illegal GE wheat contamination may dramatically alter this ratio however.Japan and Korea has already suspended orders of US wheat4 in response to the findings. The EU has ordered member states to test imported wheat for contamination.
The economic impact to wheat farmers could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Washington and Kansas wheat farmers have already filed lawsuits against Monsanto due to the immediate harm this disaster has created.
The effects will not be limited to wheat, as importing countries question what other genetic experiments may have escaped the lab and contaminated natural varieties. Monsanto has clearly stated they will leverage the fact they followed government protocol and therefore cannot be held accountable for this mess. The biotech industry is also defending Monsanto, suggesting 'activists' must have set them up.
The biotech industry has so strongly infiltrated and influenced the government agriculture and 'health' agencies they should be considered subsidiaries.
How Did Unapproved GE Wheat Survive More than a Decade After Last Field Trial?
Monsanto and other biotech companies have repeatedly promised that their creations will not escape its intended confines. Today, after hundreds of farmers have been sued for patent infringement after Monsanto’s patented seeds were found growing where they weren’t supposed to, we know how ridiculous such assertions are.The present situation is even more disturbing, as it shows that field trials alone might have the potential to cause permanent cross-contamination. During a seven-year period, between 1998 and 2005, field tests were conducted in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming.5Monsanto resumed field trials of Roundup Ready wheat last year, planting 150 acres in Hawaii. Furthermore, according to a report by Bloomberg:6“Another permit allows Monsanto to test wheat with multiple traits, including Roundup tolerance, on 300 acres in North Dakota this year. Monsanto said May 29 in a statement that it ended its program to develop Roundup Ready wheat nearly a decade before the USDA announced this week that the experimental crop was discovered growing on an Oregon farm. The Roundup Ready wheat in the new field trials is 'an entirely different event' than the escaped crop reported by the USDA, Monsanto said.'This research is still in the very early phases and at least a decade away from commercial approval,' Lee Quarles, a Monsanto spokesman, said in an e-mail response to questions today. 'The Roundup Ready wheat project that is the subject of the USDA report was previously discontinued.'”So, by their own admission, Monsanto agrees that the presence of GE wheat in Oregon is not due to any recent activity on their part, but must be the result of escaped wheat going back to field tests well over a decade ago! I wonder if they even realize how significant such an admission is as it seems to be proof positive that they have no control over what happens to their products. No GE wheat seed was ever permitted to be sold, and the last field trial in Oregon was in 2001. As to how the farmer made the discovery in the first place, NPR7 reports:“About a month ago, a farmer in eastern Oregon noticed some wheat plants growing where he didn’t expect them, and they didn’t die when he sprayed them with Roundup. The farmer sent samples of these curious plants to Carol Mallory-Smith, a scientist at Oregon State University who has investigated other cases in which genetically engineered crops spread beyond their approved boundaries. She found that this wheat was, in fact, genetically engineered. She passed samples on to the US Department of Agriculture, which confirmed her results.”
Good Going Monsanto... US Wheat Exports Now at Risk
In 2006, traces of unapproved genetically engineered rice were discovered in the American rice harvest. This led to several countries banning US grown rice and exporters lost millions of dollars as a result. Bayer CropScience, the company responsible for developing and field testing the GE rice ended up agreeing to pay $750 million to settle a class action lawsuit brought by 11,000 American rice farmers.The export market for wheat is far larger than that for rice, and while Steve Mercer with the US Wheat Associates has gone on record saying that “there’s no indication” that wheat exports will be affected in a similar fashion, his statements appear to have been premature. As mentioned earlier, Japan—frequently the top export customer of US wheat—has already canceled orders of white wheat originating in the Pacific Northwest8 and other importers are keeping a close eye on the matter. Japan also canceled orders on some feed-grade wheat.According to Mercer, the GE wheat issue is confined to “a few isolated plants growing in eastern Oregon.” Or is it?The day after the USDA’s announcement, the organic food blogger and activist Vani, aka Foodbabe, reported9 that one of her British readers had sent her a photo of the label on a Kraft Mac & Cheese box imported from the US, and in addition to informing buyers of the presence of artificial colors linked to attention disorders in children, the label clearly states that it’s made with genetically modified wheat.Now... since GE wheat is not, and never was, approved for commercial planting in the US, how could Kraft’s Mac & Cheese, manufactured in the US, be made with GE wheat? Vani notes: “It is uncertain at this time who places this label on products once they are imported into the UK. And this is something I am still investigating.” Lynne Galia, a spokesperson for Kraft Foods, released the following10 statement to MSN News:"Genetically engineered (GE) wheat is not available for commercial use. We do not use genetically engineered wheat in KRAFT Mac & Cheese or any other Kraft product. So anyone who is saying or implying there is GE wheat in KRAFT Mac & Cheese or any other Kraft product is wrong. In addition, we don’t export Mac & Cheese to the UK and have no authorized distributor there. The company that has applied this sticker is not authorized by Kraft to sell our products. They are not a customer of Kraft. They are getting the product from someone else and reselling our product in the UK. We’re continuing to investigate, but because we are not dealing with authorized distributors of our products, we may not get to the bottom of this issue anytime soon."Make no mistake about it. The USDA recognizes what a major problem this could be for the US economy. As much as 90 percent of wheat grown in Oregon is sent overseas,11 and in 2011, the state’s wheat crop sold for $492 million. According to US Wheat Associates, US wheat exports totaled $8.1 billion in 2012. 12Many if not most countries do not permit GE wheat (along with many other genetically engineered crops), so this contamination is going to have massive implications for wheat growers. All the while, Monsanto just shrugs and says they don’t know how their product escaped their well-controlled labs, and the USDA and FDA backs Monsanto up by pretending to know there are absolutely no potential safety issues involved. Truly, the situation is unacceptable.
As Worldwide Activism Against Monsanto Increases, US Government Shields Big Biotech
May 25 saw activists rallying against Monsanto in 36 countries across the globe. In Europe, activists are concerned that the company is trying to overturn EU disclosure laws, and many in the US hit the streets to voice their opinion about the "Monsanto Protection Act" that was silently slipped into the 2013 Federal Appropriations Bill. This is an act that gives biotech immunity from federal prosecution for planting illegally approved GE crops.Mainstream media took little notice of this global phenomenon. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that just two days prior to the worldwide protests, US senators overwhelmingly voted against the right of states to pass their own GMO labeling laws.13 Best to keep news of Monsanto’s poor image at bay while legislators are hard at work protecting the beast’s rights to continue its wanton slaughter of human rights.
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/11/unapproved-gm-wheat.aspx Link to original article.