After a thorough examination regarding the genetically engineered (GE) wheat detection in Washington State, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announces today that it has closed its fact finding. The Agency found no evidence of GE wheat in commerce.
On July 29, 2016, USDA confirmed the discovery by a farmer of GE wheat plants growing in an unplanted agricultural field in Washington State. After thoroughly examining the farmer’s property, APHIS detected a total of 22 wheat plants that were volunteering in an unplanted field. The GE wheat in question is resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, commonly referred to as Roundup®.
Working with the farmer, APHIS took measures to ensure that no GE wheat moved into commerce. Although the volunteers were not in a planted field, out of an abundance of caution, APHIS tested the farmer’s full wheat harvest for the presence of any GE wheat material. All samples were found to be negative for any GE wheat material.
The GE wheat was developed by the Monsanto Company and is referred to as MON 71700, containing the CP4-EPSPS protein. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) previously evaluated crops containing the CP4-EPSPS protein for safety through its voluntary biotechnology consultation process. Due to the small number of affected plants, and based on the available information about MON 71700 and CP4-EPSPS, FDA concluded it is unlikely that the wheat would present any safety concerns if present in the food supply as a result of this incident.
There are no GE wheat varieties for sale or in commercial production in the United States at this time, as APHIS has not deregulated any GE wheat varieties.
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