Monsanto provides importers testing method to detect bioengineered wheat

by Jay Sjerven
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ST. LOUIS — Monsanto, the agri-chemical and seed company at the center of the storm that erupted after the discovery of unapproved bioengineered wheat growing on an Oregon farm, has provided a validated testing method for the original Roundup Ready wheat trait to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and to government regulators in Japan, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan and the European Union.

“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,” Monsanto said.

“We have cooperated with the U.S.D.A. 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 U.S.D.A. 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.”

Since the U.S.D.A.’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced tests confirmed the presence of glyphosate-resistant wheat on an Oregon farm, the Japanese agriculture ministry announced it would suspend imports of U.S. western white wheat from the Pacific Northwest (Japan continues to buy U.S. hard red spring wheat and hard red winter wheat). The ministry added western white wheat already purchased from the United States but that has not yet arrived in Japan will be held at the receiving port and not distributed to mills and other processors until the ministry was satisfied there was no trace of bioengineered wheat in the shipments.

Other large importers of U.S. soft white wheat, particularly western white wheat, will be testing imports as well.

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