News / Health

US Finds Unapproved Genetically Modified Wheat in Oregon

TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— A strain of genetically engineered wheat never approved for sale or consumption by authorities was found sprouting on a farm in Oregon, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Wednesday.
 
The wheat was developed years ago by biotechnology company Monsanto Co. but never put into use because of worldwide opposition to genetically engineered wheat.
 
The most recent field test of such wheat was in 2005.
 
Roughly half of the U.S. wheat crop is exported and most of the crop is used in making food such as breads, pastries, cookies and noodles. USDA officials said the Food and Drug Administration determined years ago there is no health risk to humans from the strain, though.
 
“Hopefully, our trading partners will be very understanding,” Michael Scuse, the acting U.S. deputy agriculture secretary, said at a briefing with reporters.
 
Scuse said trading partners and major customers for U.S. wheat had been informed of the discovery over the past day.
 
Genetically modified crops cannot be grown legally in the United States unless the government approves them after a review to ensure they pose no threat to the environment or to people.
 
Monsanto entered four strains of glyphosate-resistant wheat for U.S. approval in the 1990s but there was no final decision by regulators because the company decided there was no market.
 
The genetically modified wheat sprouted this spring on an Oregon farm, in a field that grew winter wheat in 2012.
 
When the farmer sprayed the so-called “volunteer” plants with a glyphosate herbicide, some of them unexpectedly survived. Samples were then sent to Oregon State University and to USDA for analysis.
 
Testing showed the wheat was a Monsanto-developed strain resistant to glyphosate. Monsanto is assisting in the investigation, USDA said.
 
Monsanto tested Roundup-Ready wheat varieties, those resistant to spraying by the widely-used herbicide, in 16 states from 1998 to 2005, said USDA.
 
Scuse and Michael Firko, who oversees USDA's biotechnology approval process, said USDA was investigating how the strain appeared on the farm when no seeds should have been available for several years.
 
“I think it will have a significant impact,” said Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association, which battled to keep genetically modified wheat out of the marketplace years ago.
 
The U.S. Senate last week rejected by a wide margin a measure to allow states to order labeling of food made with genetically engineered, or GE, crops. Cummins said the discovery of the rogue plants in Oregon would accelerate efforts to require GE food labels.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid