Monsanto calls GM wheat sprouts an “isolated occurrence”

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Monsanto executives described the discovery of genetically-modified wheat growing in an Oregon farmer’s field this spring an “isolated occurrence.”

During a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Monsanto officials said the company has tested 31,200 seed samples in Oregon and Washington since the May 29 announcement of the GM wheat sprouts. They found no evidence of contamination in the tests, and said the GM wheat found last month was likely the result of an accident or deliberate mixing of seeds. They are not ruling out sabotage.

“We’re considering all options and that’s certainly one of the options,” says Robb Fraley, Monsanto chief technology officer.

Fraley said Monsanto provided a test to other countries that could “fingerprint” the exact variety of wheat that carried the GM gene, and it is awaiting samples from the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Oregon farmer to test for the exact variety that emerged.

Monsanto is a $13.5 billion St. Louis-based company with revenues anchored in sales of GM corn, soybean and cotton seeds that have been engineered to survive applications of Monsanto’s Roundup, the world’s top-selling herbicide.

Officials estimate that 90 percent or more of U.S. soybeans and 80 percent of U.S. corn are “Roundup Ready,” or genetically modified. The success of those crops led Monsanto to begin work on GM wheat, but the company ended the program nine years ago when executives determined resistance to GM crops by consumers and export customers would hurt demand for the seed.

Since that time, Monsanto has come under increasing criticism for its role in developing and marketing GM crops. Several countries ban the use of GM crops, claiming the risks to humans are unknown.

Other critics and many activists claim food made from GM crops are dangerous to human health, and Monsanto is regularly singled out as an “evil corporation.” For instance, published results from an online survey in January, 2011 in which 51 percent of respondents called Monsanto the “Most Evil Corporation of the Year.” NaturalNews Network is owned and operated by Truth Publishing International, Ltd., a Taiwan corporation, that claims to cover topics that “empower individuals to make positive changes in their health, environmental sensitivity, consumer choices and informed skepticism."

Such perceptions of Monsanto - the world's largest seedmaker - by environmentalists, food activists and others, helps spur global protests over GM foods and fuels concerns by the company that sabotage could have been involved in the Oregon incident.

Following the end of the GM wheat program in 2005, Monsanto says all of the tested GM seeds were either destroyed or recovered and sent to a USDA facility in Colorado for storage. Monsanto’s Fraley said that because those Roundup-resistant plants existed on only one of two of the Oregon farmer’s fields and haven’t sprouted on other farms since 2005, the occurrence is either “inadvertent or purposeful mixing of seed.”

Monsanto officials said the average wheat seed only stays viable for one or two years in a harsh climate like Eastern Oregon’s, and that it’s unlikely that other parent stocks were corrupted.

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Canada  |  June, 07, 2013 at 10:16 AM

"They are not ruling out sabotage. “We’re considering all options and that’s certainly one of the options,” says Robb Fraley, Monsanto chief technology officer." One of the options? Sorry Monsanto but you don't get to pick WHY it happened. It happened. You screwed up Monsanto. You can blame it on someone or you can man up. Your choice.

Texas  |  June, 07, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Monsanto ruthlessly sued farmers whose fields got contaminated with their GM it's their turn....wheat farmers are already lining up in court to sue the giant. Ha ha ha....what goes around comes around. I personally would like to thank the Taiwan corporation that funds Natural News. You sure aren't going to get the truth from any U.S. owned news corporation as Monsanto now owns our government. Evidenced by the fact a PROTECTION ACT is written into the farm bill for them. I ask you again what do they need protection from if these foods are so SAFE ??? Another vital question is why we apparently have NO CHOICE? They resist even labeling food. I smell a rat !

Texas  |  June, 07, 2013 at 11:01 AM

You are really going to regret the tone of your articles on GM foods IF the studies showing them to be harmful are undeniable. There has to be some reason that people all over the world are resisting GM crops....aside from the decreased NUTRITIONAL VALUE. It's a monopoly because the seeds are patented. Ever consider that fact? The diversity of crops is already suffering. Farmers cant save GM seeds and use them the next year without paying Monsanto evil is that? Taking people's choices away is not what this country should be about.

Texas  |  June, 07, 2013 at 11:03 AM

The real sabotage is the GENETIC ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION from their GM crops. Wind blows.

SD  |  June, 07, 2013 at 06:01 PM

How are corporations who invent, or design new products, whether seed, medicine, medical equipment, toys, cars, any consumer product you can name, supposed to recoup their costs of inventing or making those products? Patents protect corporations from financial losses, and enable them to go on to invent new medicines,seeds, toys, cars, whatever the public wants or needs. It is a recycle system, isn't it? Maybe not always working the greatest, in that it takes too long when I need a new artificial ankle for instance, for them to come up with one that is more flexible and works more like my original ankle did. I sure am glad someone has invented one that moves better, and intend to get one installed asap. And don't even mind paying the 'patent' fee! Same deal for Monsanto. But some people sure do love to hate our US corporations, and re. that Taiwan Corporation you are so proud of, how do you know it isn't killing it's customers, too, as it 'supports' your magazine out of the 'goodness of it's heart'????

NV  |  June, 07, 2013 at 08:47 PM

How refreshing to read a level-headed, common sense point of view, Maxine! Thank you! And, no, I don't work for Monsanto or any other manufacturer. I'm just smart enough to know that wheat is wheat, and if companies don't protect their investments, as in research dollars, then they won't be in business very long.

June, 08, 2013 at 04:55 PM

If anyone is interested in some informed research about Monsanto, here's a great starting point:

San Francisco, CA  |  June, 10, 2013 at 09:43 AM

That is simply not true. Any patent infringement case brought to court where volunteer plants spring up carrying a patented trait, without any action taken by the farmer to put them there, and without deliberate use of the trait, would result in a hasty dismissal. Monsanto wouldn't bother with a case where they had no legal leg to stand on. The hypothetical lawsuits you speak of could not have been won, yet they've won every patent infringement case that went to court.

June, 12, 2013 at 03:01 PM

but they have bothered with it before

Texas  |  June, 12, 2013 at 03:03 PM

No Maxine....I just love the TRUTH no matter where it comes from. All those cotton farmers in India committing suicide because of Monsanto is another ugly truth You must own stock in it

Texas  |  June, 12, 2013 at 03:09 PM

Educate yourselves.... Organic Farmers Lose Right to Protect Crops | Rodale News Monsanto: Farmers Get Their Day in Court ... The company is notorious for suing those farmers when their non-GMO crops become contaminated by GMOs ... farms whose fields purportedly contain Monsanto's patented crops, even going as ...

Texas  |  June, 12, 2013 at 03:25 PM

Wheat is wheat huh? That's about the most ignorant thing I have ever heard. Wheat isn't just wheat when it's genetically modified and infused with pesticide. A result of a loss of diversity in our crops due to Monsanto's little scam is causing people to develope allergies. Eating the same variety isn't evidentially good for people. I guess this is natural law in action, survival of the fittest and extinction for the mentally deficient. Tellme Jen why do people pay more for organic foods? Are they just idiots?

Texas  |  June, 12, 2013 at 03:27 PM People who defend Monsanto say there aren't any peer reviewed studies....well here's one done jointly by Australia and the U.S.

Texas  |  June, 12, 2013 at 03:40 PM

Local grocery store sells natural chicken *** free range for 4.98/lb but often has cage raised chicken breast for 1.00/ lb. Wheat is bound to get a lot cheaper now that countries are banning exports from us

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