Monsanto supports validated test method for wheat
Monsanto reiterated its full support to the U.S. wheat industry and regulatory authorities in the United States and wheat importing countries following the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s reported detection of the original Roundup Ready wheat trait, technically referred to as the MON71800 event, growing in a single unplanted field in Oregon.
Monsanto has provided a validated testing method for the original Roundup Ready wheat trait to the USDA, and, more recently, to government regulators in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the European Union as requested. The method will provide these governments with the opportunity to precisely and accurately test for the original Roundup Ready wheat trait, and distinguish it from traits that are already approved and widely used in other crops.
The company said the test, which was designed in line with rigorous global testing protocols, is more reliable than currently available tests designed for testing other crops since it pinpoints the specific trait in question. The company noted that these existing testing technologies, such as PCR, strip tests or dip stick tests, are likely to provide misleading results if applied to wheat. The validated testing method is expected to further ensure confidence in testing resources available to these valuable export markets. The company said that it would provide the validated method to other leading agriculture regulatory authorities as requested.
“We have cooperated with the USDA and other regulatory authorities so that they can continue to have full confidence in U.S. wheat exports,” said Philip Miller, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for Monsanto. “While the USDA has noted that they have no evidence that the original Roundup Ready wheat trait has entered commerce, our support is aimed at ensuring that the U.S. wheat industry and wheat farmers do not experience disruptions in exports.”
Monsanto noted that there are no food, feed, or environmental safety concerns associated with the presence of the Roundup Ready trait if it is found to be present in wheat. The glyphosate-tolerance trait used in the original Roundup Ready wheat product has a long history of safe use and produces the same protein that has been and is used widely in corn, soy and several other crops by millions of farmers throughout the world. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed the food and feed safety of Roundup Ready wheat in 2004. The safety of the Roundup Ready gene and protein has been reviewed and approved by regulatory authorities in every country around the world to which crops containing that gene have been submitted for cultivation or import approval, including Japan, Korea, and the EU.