The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has announced that test results of plant samples from an Oregon farm indicate the presence of genetically engineered (GE) glyphosate-resistant wheat plants. Further testing by USDA laboratories indicate the presence of the same genetically engineered GE glyphosate-resistant wheat variety that Monsanto was authorized to field test in 16 states from 1998 to 2005. APHIS launched a formal investigation after being notified by an Oregon State University scientist that initial tests of wheat samples from an Oregon farm indicated the possible presence of GE glyphosate-resistant wheat plants.
The detection of this wheat variety does not pose a food safety concern. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) completed a voluntary consultation on the safety of food and feed derived from this GE glyphosate-resistant wheat variety in 2004. FDA completed the voluntary consultation with no further questions concerning the safety of grain and forage derived from this wheat, noting that this variety was as safe as any non-GE wheat currently on the market.
USDA officials say they are taking this situation very seriously and have launched a formal investigation.
Here, APHIS’ Michael Firko explains the USDA’s experience in reviewing and evaluating the transgenic trait recently detected in growing wheat plants. Bernadette Juarez, Deputy Director Investigative and Enforcement Services, APHIS, stresses that the USDA is committed to protecting American agriculture and is conducting a thorough investigation of recently detected transgenic wheat plants.