Commentary: GM wheat sprouts another round of Monsanto criticism
U.S. farmers, and many around the world, have embraced the technology of GM corn, soybeans and cotton. The majority of those crops grown in the U.S. are the genetically modified-varieties.
For its part, Monsanto has pledged to cooperate fully with the USDA investigation into the incident in Oregon. The company, however, is likely bracing for another round of piling on by the media. Much of that criticism is unwarranted.
(Full disclosure: Drovers/CattleNetwork receives no advertising or PR money from Monsanto.)
Despite wide-spread scientific assurances about the safety of GM crops (including the Food and Drug Administration’s confirmation of the food and feed safety of Roundup Ready wheat), Monsanto decided to end its GM wheat program nine years ago because it was concerned buyers of U.S. wheat would reject the technology and hurt the U.S. wheat market.
"While USDA's results are unexpected, there is considerable reason to believe that the presence of the Roundup Ready trait in wheat, if determined to be valid, is very limited," the company said.
In summary, we have the discovery of some wheat sprouts that may be from a strain on which field research was discontinued nine years ago. Since that time over 500 million acres of wheat have been planted in the U.S. without any other incidents. Further, the company in question has pledged to assist in the investigation into these sprouts which did not produce grain which did not enter the export market.
The only thing this incident appears to have produced is more fodder for critics of Monsanto and GM technology.