US probes genetically modified wheat discovery

May 31, 2013 by Kerry Sheridan

The US Department of Agriculture is investigating the discovery of genetically engineered wheat in an Oregon field, as outcry mounted Friday among consumer groups and Japan suspended some US imports.

US regulators said the wheat carries no risks but the outcome of the probe—namely finding out whether such wheat is growing elsewhere—could have a wider impact on world markets, experts said.

"No one wants genetically engineered wheat," said Bill Freese, analyst at the Center for Food Safety, recalling that massive opposition in 2004 led seed giant Monsanto to pull back from its bid to commercialize it.

GE wheat is not approved for commercial sale anywhere in the world, but some herbicide-resistant plants were found in April on an Oregon farm, triggering a government investigation, officials announced on Wednesday.

Market jitters ensued as Japan cancelled a bid for 25,000 tons of US wheat and the European Union told its member states to test imports from the area, saying any genetically modified wheat would not be sold to consumers.

Monsanto's share price was down 3.3 percent at $101.53 in midday trade after climbing for the past 10 days.

The altered wheat is glyphosate resistant, which means it contains a transgene that allows it to survive when a popular weedkiller made by Monsanto, called Roundup, is sprayed on fields.

The GE wheat was tested at more than 100 sites in the United States from 1998 to 2005, but the last approved field trials in Oregon were in 2001, according to the USDA's Animal and (APHIS).

Monsanto said it was cooperating with the probe and vowed to "conduct a rigorous investigation to validate the scope of and to address any presence of a Monsanto Roundup Ready event in commercial wheat seed."

The same GE technology is already widely used in soybeans and maize in the United States and allows farmers to spray their fields with weedkillers without harming the main crop.

"The first thing to know is it is perfectly safe. It was fully tested by Monsanto prior to 2005," said Ronnie Coffman, professor of plant breeding and director of international programs of the college of agriculture and life sciences at Cornell University.

"Wheat farmers have wanted it all along, but there is the sense that the issue among the big wheat exporting nations is sort of, 'You first.'

"The Americans don't want to do biotech wheat before the Canadians do because they are afraid they might lose market share. The Canadians, the Americans, the Australians are all big wheat exporters and are all very sensitive to the market forces."

US Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers issued a statement urging governments not to halt US wheat imports based on the Oregon finding.

"Because of the isolated nature of this discovery, there appears to be little scientific reason for governments to suspend US soft white wheat purchases," the groups said.

"USDA made it clear that there is no evidence suggesting that this material has entered commercial supplies and that there is no health risk associated with it."

However, consumer advocates said US regulators have failed to protect the food supply from GE crop contamination, noting that Food and Drug Administration safety reviews of GE crops before market release are voluntary.

Freese said the situation in Oregon "shows the totally inadequacy of the regulatory system for GM crops."

Other concerns include the potential human and animal impacts of the rising use of Roundup as an herbicide, with more chemicals being used because more crops are now modified to be resistant.

The FDA concluded in its 2004 review of Monsanto's research that the GE wheat variety was as safe for use in animal feed and human food as non-GE wheat on the market.

The market could face more pressure as a result of the Oregon incident, according to analyst Frank Cholly of RJO Futures who said jitters could spread like "a contagion, it may become more widespread."

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jsdarkdestruction
3.5 / 5 (11) Jun 01, 2013
""No one wants genetically engineered wheat," said Bill Freese, science policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety"
Nonsense, lots of rational people would be happy to have the advantages this can provide. It's just the paranoid ones like this guy that are holding us back.
ValeriaT
1.6 / 5 (7) Jun 01, 2013
NOW it's official:genes from genetically modified corn have escaped into wild varieties in rural Mexico. A new study resolves a long-running controversy over the spread of GM genes and suggests that detecting such escapes may be tougher than previously thought (compare the reports here and here). Should we bother about it? Well, we should because of presence of terminator genes introduced into the GMO, the main purpose of which is to force the farmers to buy new and new seeds just from Monsanto. Such a gene spread into wild would make whole crops of wheat across the whole earth sterile.
ValeriaT
1.7 / 5 (6) Jun 01, 2013
The altered wheat is glyphosate resistant, which means it contains a transgene that allows it to survive when a popular weedkiller made by Monsanto, called Roundup
A fresh report: Heavy use of herbicide Roundup linked to health dangers. Many animals aren't so silly and they can recognize GMO corn and they avoid it in food. Why?
Because in reality, the contemporary genetic manipulations aren't well defined chemical reactions, which you may expect from school lab experiments. They usually produce metabolic mess and mixture of proteins, many of them are unknown in the nature. Some of them are causing allergies, but many others have no apparent effect. The animals may recognize some of them by their smell, but people aren't so sensitive about it.
arq
3.4 / 5 (5) Jun 01, 2013
@jsdark, Can you provide a link to all the 'rational' people who want it?
SteveL
3.8 / 5 (9) Jun 01, 2013
We have been selectively breeding and genetically engineering ourselves, our pets and our foods for thousands of years. One example; compare today's corn with the teosinte from 6,000 years ago, and corn products are used throughout our food and other industries. Another example would be to look at your common navel orange. Ever notice how few seeds are in a modern orange from the market? When I was a kid there were multiple seeds in every wedge of an orange. We have been selectively breeding animals to suit our whims for thousands of years. Humans have been selectively breeding basically since our existence.

Monsanto and their competitors have been using technology to speed up the process. In order to help prevent GE cross pollination, test crops are designed to be sterile. This process isn't always 100% effective, but for Monsanto there is the added benefit that if you want seeds for growing you have to come back to them - That's the part I really don't like.
julianpenrod
1 / 5 (11) Jun 01, 2013
A textbook example of the lies shills for the New World Order agenda of genetically modified mutant foodstuffs utilize to avoid actually discussing the non existent "merits" of their subject.
Asserting without proof that the entity, mutant foods, is necessarily safe. Refusing even to provide proof, only parroting the insistences of those who stand to profit if the lie is believed.
Calling names. Declaring those who refuse to trust what hasn't been proved safe, and which is defended by those who need to resort to name calling rather than proving the "merits" of the object of their loyalty, "paranoid". It's not paranoia to recognize that shills won't discuss, they simply "diagnose" suspicion of their suspicious actions as "paranoia".
And the lie of claiming that selective breeding is genetic modification.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (10) Jun 01, 2013
@jsdark, Can you provide a link to all the 'rational' people who want it?
It says so right in the article

""Wheat farmers have wanted it all along, but there is the sense that the issue among the big wheat exporting nations is sort of, 'You first.'"

-And I suppose people who would grow it and harvest it and would be exposed to it all the time, would be more cognizant of the dangers than some mother jones/whole earth catalogue-reading hippie types who would rather our whole infrastructure collapse, and those who are left would be living in tepees and smoking paraquat-free pot. Speaking of which
the non existent "merits" of their subject
The merits would be the ability to use weed killers without killing crops. Whats wrong with that?
Neinsense99
3.3 / 5 (12) Jun 01, 2013
A textbook example of the lies shills for the New World Order agenda of genetically modified mutant foodstuffs utilize to avoid actually discussing the non existent "merits" of their subject.
Asserting without proof that the entity, mutant foods, is necessarily safe. Refusing even to provide proof, only parroting the insistences of those who stand to profit if the lie is believed.
Calling names. Declaring those who refuse to trust what hasn't been proved safe, and which is defended by those who need to resort to name calling rather than proving the "merits" of the object of their loyalty, "paranoid". It's not paranoia to recognize that shills won't discuss, they simply "diagnose" suspicion of their suspicious actions as "paranoia".
And the lie of claiming that selective breeding is genetic modification.

The same julianpenrod that thinks climate science is all part of a conspiracy too.
VENDItardE
1.8 / 5 (10) Jun 01, 2013
get over it "envirogreenscaredycatfreaks"....
beleg
1 / 5 (2) Jun 01, 2013
"Property is theft" begets a new twist. The seed is unbesiegbar - unconquerable and unstoppable. Shareholders know best. Succumbing to the inevitable - Buy Monsanto - insures a monopoly because everyone knows nothing is 100%. A gold mine in the making.
Hail free enterprise.
ValeriaT
1.7 / 5 (6) Jun 01, 2013
Monsanto and their competitors have been using technology to speed up the process
This is willfully misleading statement - the genetic engineering has nothing to do with breeding. The resulting organisms have such a combination of genes which would never met together in the nature. Such a genes can be metastable and more susceptible to horizontal gene transfer. Such a product should be definitely labeled, as they contain a mixture of chemicals, which were never tested from long therm perspective - the longest trials of Monsanto took just 90 days - but when Serialini repeated them for two years, then the mutagenic effects manifested itself (it's because the cancer needs prolonged time for its manifestation due the cell life cycle, which is usually longer than 90 days). These long-term studies were widely criticized - but never replicated.
ValeriaT
1.7 / 5 (6) Jun 01, 2013
The merits would be the ability to use weed killers without killing crops. Whats wrong with that?
This approach is not sustainable, because the weeds already gained resistance due the spreading of resistant gene into wild (1, 2). You can get just few years advantage over weeds - and after then we will all pay for it. Which is the principle of the whole business in this field - to disperse the hidden cost of technology over time and large number of people and government (health care, subsidized agricultural programs) in the way, nobody will realize, he's cheated. In certain sense we all paying the Monsanto for accelerated evolution of superweeds.
beleg
1 / 5 (1) Jun 01, 2013
lol
My imagination sold me short. Yours did not. Superweeds!
'Tokers' will misinterpret this.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 01, 2013
This approach is not sustainable, because the weeds already gained resistance due the spreading of resistant gene into wild (http://www.scienc...39.htm). You can get just few years advantage over weeds - and after then we will all pay for it. Which is the principle of the whole business in this field - to disperse the hidden cost of technology over time and large number of people and government (health care, subsidized agricultural programs) in the way, nobody will realize, he's cheated. In certain sense we all paying the Monsanto for accelerated evolution of superweeds.
Lead time as I understand it is 5-7 years.

But pesticides and GMO crops can and are being designed to resist pests in ways that pests can't adapt to.

We've been genetically modifying crops ever since we began domesticating them. The varieties were consistently selected for quantity over quality. The crap we now eat is not good for us. GMO will let us fix this.
arq
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 02, 2013
@theghost, i am talking about the link to the actual people who want it. Not a statement saying that people want it.

And why do you assume that every person who doesnt share your opinion wants infrastructure to collapse?

You dont share my opinion too, so should i assume something like you want the world to be flooded?
arq
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 02, 2013
You sound like a dumb hillbillly who thinks the whole world should talk like you, quack like you walk like you. And should not say/do anything that doesnt fit into your belief system. If they dont, they are hippies.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Jun 02, 2013
@theghost, i am talking about the link to the actual people who want it. Not a statement saying that people want it
What - you want names? Sorry I do not have the resources to provide you with this info.
And why do you assume that every person who doesnt share your opinion wants infrastructure to collapse?
They may not want it to, but they don't understand that measures like GM are absolutely necessary to prevent it. And many simply don't care to learn.
You dont share my opinion too, so should i assume something like you want the world to be flooded?
Flooded? Did I say flooded? Flooded with what?

God promised Noah this would not happen again. Are you calling god a liar???
You sound like a dumb hillbilly
-And you sound like a pedant with no sense of humor. Am I right?
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (4) Jun 02, 2013
the genetic engineering has nothing to do with breeding
You are implying that breeding is intrinsically safe? Why, just because it's slower? Plants are crossbred which would never have done so in the wild. Hybrids are produced which lack key nutrients and antioxidants which are necessary to PREVENT cancer.

Bitterness indicates the presence of antioxidants and this has been selected against. Corn has consistently been bred to increase yield and sweetness at the expense of nutrition. White corn was actually the result of accidental irradiation.

Our foods today are NOTHING LIKE what we evolved on. As a result we develop inflammatory diseases which did not exist before the advent of agriculture.

Domestication has made us weak and sick like our cattle. GM is our only hope of restoring foods while maintaining yields.
kochevnik
1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 02, 2013
Domestication has made us weak and sick like our cattle. GM is our only hope of restoring foods while maintaining yields.
As if Monsanto will suddenly invert their corporate culture and begin designing foods reminiscent of healthy variants.

If you want healthy wheat use einkorn wheat. That's what man used long ago before he began crossbreeding with weeds and other oddities to boost yields at the expense of nutrition and antinutrients

One typical difference between Russia and US is that our potatoes are very small and tasty while the US potatoes have no taste and are much larger, being stripped of nutrition. Americans are dying from their toxic food stripped of nutrients already. It will only become worse and consumers are uneducated and are brainwashed to prefer brands over breeding
arq
not rated yet Jun 02, 2013
@ghostofotto,


Personally i am not against it, if its absolutely necessary. But any GM crop should be properly tested and if doubts arise, the concerns should be addressed.

As for names, my original comment about that was addressed to another person. When a person says that people want so and so, he should be able to back it up by showing who those people are. If not by providing names atleast by providing a link to any website or webpage if any, that show that people want it. Or back it up in any other manner.

As for 'flooded', i know it doesnt make sense. I only said that to indicate how your comment about infrastructure doesnt make sense.

As for sense of humor, i do have loads of it, but when you mentioned the word 'hippie' i thought i'd return the favour.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (2) Jun 02, 2013
If you want healthy wheat use einkorn wheat. That's what man used long ago before he began crossbreeding with weeds and other oddities to boost yields at the expense of nutrition and antinutrients
GRASS is the last thing that healthy hunter gatherers would choose to eat. Too much work, not enough return.

Grass was eaten by stragglers who fled into the marshes to hide from marauders. It is indicative of too many people with nowhere to go and nothing left to eat but GRASS. Elsewhere healthy people who had a choice were eating nuts, berries, tubers, and meat.
As if Monsanto will suddenly invert their corporate culture and begin designing foods reminiscent of healthy variants
Overpopulation has put humanity into crisis mode. If and when this 'flood' begins to subsiide, we can all begin to live better. The remnants that is.
As for sense of humor, i do have loads of it, but when you mentioned the word 'hippie' i thought i'd return the favour
Ha ha I am not laughing.
aroc91
not rated yet Jun 04, 2013
the longest trials of Monsanto took just 90 days - but when http://www.policy...tention_ for two years, then the mutagenic effects manifested itself


Of all the studies to cite, you picked the worst one. They had very weak statistical analysis and even their control rats got cancer. I think in one case, their control rats had a higher cancer rate than their treatment rats.

Search for "seralini" on pubmed and 95% of the first page is responses and comments tearing it a new one.

aroc91
not rated yet Jun 04, 2013
An excerpt from one of the response papers:

A well-known study with 100 rats showed that after 2 years 82% of male and 72% of female rats developed tumours without administering anything other than normal feed (Kilkenny et al., 2010, Suzuki et al., 1979 and Prejean et al., 1973). Consequently, a 90-day feeding trial is considered sufficient (Davis et al., 1956), to avoid undue suffering.

The treatments after 2 years in the present study produced no higher incidence of mortality or tumour incidence than found in these large cohort studies on a standard diet.

http://www.scienc...12007946