Monsanto noted it remains committed to working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. wheat industry to get to the bottom of the reported detection of Roundup Ready wheat earlier this week in a single field in Oregon.
The company is in the process of conducting its own investigation into the matter and is prepared to take actions once the investigation results are known to ensure that its farmer customers and the broader wheat industry remains strong.
In order to provide information on this reported detection, its own investigation, its wheat technology and wheat business, the company will update www.monsanto.com/gmwheat to ensure its farmer customers and broader stakeholders are aware of ongoing developments.
“We’re committed to being transparent about our investigation and sharing information as it is assembled,” said Claire Cajacob, Monsanto’s wheat research lead. “We’re prepared to provide any technical help that we can to get to the bottom of this.”
Monsanto said that the USDA’s report that its near decade-old Roundup Ready wheat trait had been found in a single field raised important questions about the circumstance and source of the presence. Monsanto’s process for closing out the Roundup Ready wheat program was rigorous, well-documented and audited. The company’s own internal investigation has confirmed that it did not have any prior test site at the location where the material under investigation was reported to have been present.
Based on current reports, USDA has highlighted that it has no evidence that the original Roundup Ready wheat trait has entered commerce. The company’s internal assessments also suggest that 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’s internal assessments suggest that neither seed left in the soil or wheat pollen flow serve as a reasonable explanation behind this reported detection at this time. Researchers, both in the public and private sectors, acknowledge that the viability of wheat seed — which on average lasts 1 to 2 years in the soil. Wheat is predominantly a self-pollinating plant and research highlights that 99 percent of wheat pollen moves less than 30 feet from its source.
Monsanto noted that there are no food, feed or environmental safety concerns associated with the presence of the Roundup Ready gene if it is found to be present in wheat. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed the food and feed safety of Roundup Ready wheat more than a decade ago. FDA’s summary and letter can be found online.