On July 14, 2014, APHIS was notified that suspected GE wheat had been discovered growing at the Montana State University’s Southern Agricultural Research Center (SARC) in Huntley, Montana, where Monsanto and researchers grew GE wheat as part of field trials between 2000 and 2003. These field tests were conducted under APHIS’ regulatory approval.
APHIS immediately began an investigation into this regulatory compliance issue and sampled wheat at the SARC. Testing of the samples by a USDA laboratory confirmed that the wheat is genetically engineered to resist Roundup. Further genetic testing shows that the GE wheat collected from the field in Montana was not the source of the GE wheat found growing in the single field in Oregon.
Among other things, APHIS’ ongoing investigation is focusing on why GE wheat was found growing at the research facility location. GE wheat from the facility has not been allowed to enter commercial channels this year and GE wheat grown as part of authorized field trials at this research facility between 2000 and 2003 was likewise not allowed to enter commercial channels. None of the wheat is sold as seed.
Monsanto and Montana State University/SARC were issued warning letters for failing to adhere to required performance standards for field trials.