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June 10, 2019 | Reuters
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USDA Investigates Unapproved GMO Wheat in Washington State

No evidence wheat had entered food supply

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed the discovery of unapproved, genetically engineered (GE) wheat plants growing in an un-planted agricultural field in Washington state, reports Reuters.

There was no evidence the wheat had entered the food supply, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) said in a statement on Friday. The wheat is resistant to glyphosate, a widely used herbicide commonly referred to as Roundup.

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) are aware that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the discovery of GE wheat plants growing in an unplanted agricultural field in Washington State. 

In a joint press release, the two associations said they believe APHIS is well prepared to identify additional information about this discovery. 

APHIS has confirmed:

  • There is no evidence suggesting that this wheat event, or any other GM wheat event has entered U.S. commercial supplies or entered the food supply
  • 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
  • There is no health risk associated with glyphosate resistance events in wheat based on U.S. Food and Drug Administration evaluations

"We appreciate that USDA is collaborating with our organizations and our state, industry and trading partners to provide timely and transparent information about their findings as they investigate this discovery," said the release. "We understand samples of the wheat plants from the field in Washington were sent to the USDA Federal Grain Inspection Service lab in Kansas City, MO, as well as USDA Agricultural Research lab in Pullman, WA, for testing and confirmation.

"We cannot speculate or comment about any potential market reactions until we have a chance to discuss the situation in more detail with overseas customers," the statement continued. "Based on what we know today from APHIS, we are confident that nothing has changed the U.S. wheat supply chain’s ability to deliver wheat that matches every customer’s specifications."

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