Genetically Engineered Wheat Found in Oregon Fields

By Anna Mueller, Guest Blogger


Genetically engineered (GE) wheat was recently discovered in an Oregon field despite the fact that all GE wheat trials ended in 2005. According to NPR, this particular type of wheat- which was engineered to resist the herbicide glyphosate (aka “Roundup Ready”)- was never approved for commercial planting.    

One Oregon wheat farmer found the strain amongst his crop, which survived an application of glyphosate. Lab analysis confirmed that it was genetically engineered.

The big question is how did it get there?

When Monsanto, or any other biotechnology corporation, calls an end to a GE trial all traces of the crop are supposed to be destroyed. The fact that this wheat entered into the regular agricultural stream is very alarming.

This is an example of how even GE trials can generate contamination of non-GE and organic crops. It is possible that as a result of this glitch more of our wheat fields have already been contaminated, not only resulting in an unapproved strain in our crops, but also in the possible loss of the European and Asian wheat markets that object to GE crops.  Japan, the largest market for U.S. wheat exports, has already cancelled a major wheat purchase over the findings.

This is an important story to follow as the federal investigation ensues.



Anna Mueller is an Environmental Writing and Media student with a focus in Food & Farms at Unity College in Unity, Maine.

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