Biotech Updates

USDA Probes Detection of GE Wheat in US Agri Fields

July 17, 2019

The United States Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) is looking into the discovery of genetically engineered (GE) wheat in an unfarmed agricultural field in Washington, USA.

Upon thorough investigation, the USDA determined that the GE wheat were glyphosate resistant and developed by Bayer CropScience (previously Monsanto). The varieties detected were MON 71300 and MON 71800.

Previous voluntary food and feed safety evaluation conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed that MON 71800 "was as safe as non-GE wheat currently on the market." Similarly, the FDA concluded that "there would have no safety concerns in the unlikely event that low levels of MON 71300 wheat or MON 71800 wheat were present in the food supply. " MON 71300 has the same glyphosate-resistant gene as MON 71800.

In response to the issue, APHIS has intensified its surveillance of regulated GE field trials. The agency now requires developers to apply for a permit for GE wheat field trials, which will ensure compliance with safety regulations. APHIS has also announced that a test kit to detect MON 71300 will be available for its trading partners. At present, GE wheat is not yet commercially produced and sold in the US.

For more details, visit the USDA APHIS newsroom.