Japan, the largest international buyer of U.S. wheat, has canceled its tender to buy U.S. white wheat after the discovery of a test strain of Monsanto’s genetically modified wheat had been found on an Oregon wheat farmer’s land, Reuters reports.
Monsanto tested the Roundup-resistant wheat from 1998 to 2005, but it was never approved for consumption. The agriculture company abandoned the project due to international rejection of genetically modified (GM) cereals.
Japan and other Asian countries remain skeptical of GM foods, and Japan has approved only a select number of GM products for human consumption, including corn, but not wheat.
The GM wheat was discovered when an Oregon wheat farmer tried spraying an undesired patch with Monsanto’s herbicide, Roundup, but the weedkiller — to the farmer’s surprise — didn’t do the job.
The farmer then contacted Oregon State University researchers who determined the wheat contained genes from Monsanto’s abandoned wheat project. The crop otherwise consisted of natural wheat.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is now investigating whether the GM wheat in Oregon is an isolated issue or the genes have spread to other crops. There is no scientific evidence that suggests GM wheat is unfit for consumption.
Monsanto’s strains of genetically modified corn and soybeans now dominate those two markets.© Food Safety News