Discovery of Genetically Modified Wheat Highlights Regulatory Failures

A farmer in eastern Oregon recently discovered that the wheat in his field has been genetically modified. The incident once again reveals the difficulty of containing GE crops and the inadequacy of U.S. policy.

| July 2, 2013

  • Genetically Modified Wheat
    Federal agriculture investigators still haven't said how genetically modified wheat appeared in an eastern Oregon field.
    Photo by Fotolia/mihalec

  • Genetically Modified Wheat

The following editorial guest opinion is reposted from The Oregonian.

The recent news that genetically engineered wheat never approved for sale was growing in an eastern Oregon field surprised many Americans, including the farmer working the land. Japan and South Korea responded swiftly by suspending wheat imports from the United States. For those of us who study these issues, this latest incident underscores, once again, the difficulty of containing GE crops and the inadequacy of U.S. policy. The federal government must heed this wake-up call and dramatically improve regulation of GE crops both before and after market approval.

How the unapproved GE wheat made its way into a farmer's field is currently unknown. What we do know is that there are many ways contamination can occur. Given that this wheat included a trait never approved for market, experimental field trials conducted by Monsanto are the likely culprit.

When companies want to develop a new GE crop, they conduct field trials before commercialization. Theoretically, the U.S. Department of Agriculture oversees these trials, the vast majority of which are managed under a streamlined notification system. Companies simply inform the agency that tests are underway.

While Monsanto and the USDA struggle to find the source of Oregon's rogue gene, three interrelated problems plaguing the government's oversight process of field trials come into sharp relief. Our observations here are informed by a policy analysis we conducted on another GE crop, Roundup Ready alfalfa, recently published in the peer-reviewed journal Agriculture and Human Values.

First, the USDA does not impose any firm requirements on the company doing the testing. The companies devise the specific procedures by which they will try to "confine" the experimental genetic traits and thereby attempt to reduce effects on surrounding crops and the environment. The companies also certify whether their own standards are being met. In other words, they regulate themselves.

7/4/2013 8:59:46 AM

 Start making cash right now... Get more time with your family by doing jobs that only require for you to have a computer and an internet access and you can have that at your home. Start bringing up to $8000 a month. I've started this job and I've never been happier and now I am sharing it with you, so you can try it too. You can check it out here----->



Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019


Next: April, 27-28 2019
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters

click me