APHIS: No GE wheat in commerce
A federal investigation into genetically engineered wheat found on an Oregon farm has determined that the case "appears to be an isolated occurrence and that there is no indication of any GE wheat in commerce, "according to a report released Sept...
A federal investigation into genetically engineered wheat found on an Oregon farm has determined that the case "appears to be an isolated occurrence and that there is no indication of any GE wheat in commerce, "according to a report released Sept. 26 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Inspection Service.
APHIS began its investigation after GE wheat was found on the farm on May 3, 2013. Since then, APHIS conducted 291 interviews with wheat growers, grain elevator operators, crop consultants and wheat researchers. It also studied written evidence and collected more than 100 samples from businesses that sold the same certified seed planted in the field, as well as from businesses that bought the harvested grain from the growers.
According to the report:
"After exhausting all leads, APHIS was unable to determine exactly how the GE wheat came to grow in the farmer's field. The investigation also found that the GE wheat is not a commercial variety of wheat. Instead, the genetic characteristics of the GE wheat volunteers are representative of a wheat breeding program."
U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers, in a joint news release, said the APHIS report is consistent with the results of independent testing by Japan and Korea.
"We appreciate the thorough and diligent investigation that APHIS has conducted and we accept its findings," Paul Penner, NAWG President and wheat farmer from Hillsboro, Kan, said in the release. "We also believe those findings show that our customers can be confident that we are still producing a reliable supply of high-quality, wholesome and nutritious wheat."
Discovery of the wheat and subsequent investigation intensified attention on GE wheat. The U.S. wheat industry stressed at the time that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reviewed the wheat in 2004 and found no safety problems with it. That didn't reassure GE critics, including some foreign buyers.
U.S. Wheat Associates and NAWG said Sept. 26 that more innovation in wheat varieties is needed, but "choice is paramount."
The APHIS news release on its report can be found at www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/2014/09/pdf/ge_wheat.pdf .