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GMO Wheat Escapes, Tainting Crops In Oregon

non-approved GMO wheat escapes and taints oregon field

Did you know there is no genetically modified wheat approved for U.S. farming? Yet farmers in Oregon recently discovered a non-approved strain of GMO wheat in their fields — a strain that Monsanto stopped testing in Oregon way back in 2001.

Officials aren’t commenting about how the wheat may have gotten there, but I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out. GMO contamination of non-GMO fields is notoriously widespread, particularly in seed-bearing crops that are wind-pollinated.

I seriously doubt this was an act of bioterrorism, or that someone maliciously planted the GMO wheat in this field, or that the farmers are guilty of thieving and espionage against Monsanto. The simplest answer is likely the correct one. Monsanto’s experimental GMO crops contaminated non-GMO crops, and more than a decade later the GMO wheat is still spreading.


Tainted Wheat Affects Global Trade

According to this NBC news story:

Many countries around the world will not accept imports of genetically modified foods, and the United States exports about half of its wheat crop.

The director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Katy Coba, said in a statement that the discovery is “a very serious development that could have major trade ramifications.” The state exports about 90 percent of its wheat….

Firko and Acting Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse said they have already been in touch with international trading partners to try and assuage any concerns.

“Hopefully our trading partners will be understanding that this is not a food or feed safety issue,” Scuse said.

Japan stopped imports of U.S. wheat the day after the USDA confirmed that this Oregon wheat was tainted with experimental, non-approved GMOs. Which countries will be next?

Tainted Wheat Affects Certified Organic Producers

By law, organic producers can not grow GMO crops. Yet what happens when their field of organic corn or wheat is contaminated with pollen from a nearby field of GMOs?

They lose their organic certification, that’s what.

Monsanto’s Reponse: Don’t Worry Your Little Heads

Of course, Monsanto was quick to point out that there are no safety concerns involved with this discovery.

No evidence exists that the never-approved wheat has entered the commercial food or feed supply, he said. Monsanto said there’s reason to believe the incident is highly isolated and should not concern consumers or trading partners.
(source)

Well. I’m glad they cleared that up. I feel oh so much better.

My Response?

hell no gmo

(top photo by: Anguskirk; collage photos by: John Novotny, Dralion Unleashed, tbn97, Steve Rhodes)

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I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.
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21 Responses to GMO Wheat Escapes, Tainting Crops In Oregon
  1. Mike
    May 30, 2013 | 8:40 am

    The most obvious answer is malicious planting of it. Will the guilty party be caught? If it is due to a combination of the gmo wheat ands non-gmo, one could easily see that by loking at the genetic background.

    • Connie Cota
      June 1, 2013 | 1:08 pm

      I agree with you Mike!

  2. Joel
    May 30, 2013 | 12:43 pm

    It will only be a matter of time until Monsanto sues the Oregon farmer for patent infringement!

  3. Hannah J
    May 30, 2013 | 2:16 pm

    This is just sad. Why can’t the GMO growers have buffer fields and enclosed farming? Why is it always up to the organic grower or small time farmer to protect his crops from GMO infiltration?

    Check out my blog at:
    dreamingofperfect.weebly.com

  4. Walter Jeffries
    May 30, 2013 | 8:59 pm

    In a really weird turn of events this could be very good for the anti-GMO movement. Imagine:
    1. GMO wheat found in the wild in the USA (maybe Oregon wheat field…)
    2. Foreign countries ban USA wheat (maybe Japan, Russia, Europe…)
    3. Consumers boycott wheat.
    4. Walmart and other big sellers declare they are verifying that their products are GMO free (on the horizon…)
    5. Monsanto looks at its navel and implodes.
    Presto, magic, we’re GMO free!

  5. therese
    May 31, 2013 | 7:41 am

    We are closing in Monsanto. Maybe they should start to change to organic, this is the business in the future.

  6. Kit
    May 31, 2013 | 2:33 pm

    I hope enough foreign countries ban U.S. wheat imports to get companies going GMO free! Or maybe legislation will finally get involved… I mean, if they’re losing money, they’ll try to turn it around somehow. They’re bound to give a damn about that even if they don’t care about our health. What a sad world we live in.

  7. HollymMead
    May 31, 2013 | 2:49 pm

    Question: The opening line of the post says that no GMO wheat is approved for U.S. farming, but isn’t Round Up Ready wheat (or any Round Up Ready crop) GMO? I thought they used a gene gun to “shoot” in the Round Up Ready component with E-Coli DNA, which would be genetic modification, right? There must be something I’m missing that’s making me confused about the “no GMO wheat approved for U.S. farming.” Can anybody help clear up my confusion? :)

    • KristenM
      May 31, 2013 | 2:56 pm

      Yes, RoundUp Ready wheat is GMO, but it has never been approved by the FDA.

      Monsanto created, developed, and tested it between 1998 and 2005, but abandoned it when it was blocked by the U.S. wheat industry.

  8. Carrie
    June 1, 2013 | 9:33 am

    This is horrifying, but I’m inclined to be optimistic and agree with Walter Jeffries; this might wind up being good for the non-GMO movement!

    At least, we can hope for the silver lining, right?

  9. SAMcClellan
    June 1, 2013 | 10:55 am

    When I posted this to Pinterest, I liked the site that appeared, saying:
    ~”If voting changed anything,
    they’d make it illegal!”~
    …Sad, but probably true!..Seems I saw where the govm’t had made Monsanto immune to lawsuits; something they’d already done for hazmat cleanup contractors. No regulation/no responsibility, for their actions. And, of course the people who work around these things and get sick from it, have no recourse, either. “no proof, that these things cause illness” etc…hard for the dead to prove much of anything. People who come here from other countries, healthy…get the same health problems, many American’s have “suddenly” been battling, for two decades, now.
    ~Hold those signs up higher!!~ “NO MO GMO!!”

  10. c. anderson
    June 1, 2013 | 11:37 am

    The courts are quick to award Monsanto and other groups big decisions in their cases, I think it’s time Monsanto has to pay up for their irresponsible acts. They claimed all the testing for this GMO wheat was cleaned up, but obviously it was not. I remember the case with the GMO corn that accidentally got into a farmers field and Monsanto won on shoddy evidence. TIME TO PAY MONSANTO!

  11. Andrew
    June 1, 2013 | 1:19 pm

    Time to stop purchasing products that Monsanto is involved with. When their bottom line is affected they will be forced to change because the shareholders want profits so they can receive dividends.

    Time to stop going to events they sponsor.

    Time to stop attending professional sports which is sponsored, directly or indirectly.

    Monsanto and their kind want what your dynamic energy. The only way they can take your energy is if it is converted to potential energy($).

    Spend your dynamic energy in ways that will benefit you, your family and the community you live in. In the long run, which is what is important, what comes around goes around! That is how you keep the energy in your area for your benefit.

    1and1is1

    • Erin
      June 2, 2013 | 11:54 am

      Amen! Thank you! Proactive, direct change! Let’s all follow suit!

  12. Robert
    June 1, 2013 | 8:58 pm

    I hope that field of GMO wheat is completely torched right to the ground!

  13. Kat
    June 24, 2013 | 6:17 pm

    I live in Oregon and this totally surprised me, but at the same time, it’s not that hard to believe. When I saw it on the local news, all I could think is that Monsanto did it without the farmers even knowing. I have heard that they do this all the time. It’s scary world we live in today.

  14. Dawn Shatto via Facebook
    January 27, 2014 | 8:06 pm

    Oh, Dear Food Renegade, they have screwed with not only the US but the entire world. Research what has happened to the corn in Mexico. Read and Understand Agenda 21. Eyes open! Thanks for the report! The more informed we are and the louder or voices become, we still may have a chance to stop this madness!

  15. Portia Drantch via Facebook
    January 27, 2014 | 8:28 pm

    This is dreadful!! However, can someone help clarify something for me? One of the first things I learned (years ago)about GMO seeds is that they aren’t viable. This obviously can’t be true if the seeds are spreading and contaminating. I find conflicting stuff on-line so any help here is greatly appreciated!

  16. Food Renegade via Facebook
    January 27, 2014 | 8:56 pm

    Portia Drantch They are viable so long as they don’t have the “terminator gene.” They may not reproduce “true,” but they will reproduce. But for most major GMO crops, it’s illegal to do so. Their contacts require that you but fresh seeds every year rather than saving seeds.

  17. Dawn Shatto via Facebook
    January 27, 2014 | 8:58 pm

    Potia Drantch, GMO seeds are as “viable as any other mature seed!

  18. Portia Drantch via Facebook
    January 27, 2014 | 9:11 pm

    One of the first things I learned (apparently incorrectly) about GMO seeds was that they were not only awful in soooooo many ways but that they were engineered to not reproduce so that people could no longer save the seeds so thanks for clearing that up for me! Too bad the former can’t be true!

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My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.
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