USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced today that test results of plant samples from an Oregon farm indicate the presence of genetically modified (GMO) glyphosate-resistant wheat plants. Further testing by USDA laboratories indicates the presence of the same GMO glyphosate-resistant wheat variety that Monsanto was authorized to field test in 16 states from 1998 to 2005. APHIS launched a formal investigation after being notified by an Oregon State University scientist that initial tests of wheat samples from an Oregon farm indicated the possible presence of GMO glyphosate-resistant wheat plants. There are no GMO wheat varieties approved for sale or in commercial production in the U.S. or elsewhere at this time.
USDA reminded this does not pose a food safety concern, but says it is taking the situation "very seriously" and have launched a formal investigation. "The Plant Protection Act (PPA) provides for substantial penalties for serious infractions. Should APHIS determine that this situation was the result of a violation of the PPA, APHIS has the authority to seek penalties for such a violation including civil penalties up to $1,000,000 and has the authority to refer the matter for criminal prosecution, if appropriate," states APHIS on the matter.
Click here for a factsheet from APHIS on the investigation.