Per a recent announcement, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed that GM wheat was discovered in an unplanted field in Washington state earlier this year. The GM wheat in question was found to have been engineered to be resistant to glyphosate, an herbicide marketed by Monsanto under the Roundup name. (No glyphosate was reported to have been identified in Washington.)
Those paying attention may remember that similar cases were reported in Oregon in 2013, in Montana in 2014, and in Alberta in 2018. This GM wheat has not been approved for commercial cultivation—no GM wheat has been, Roundup Ready or otherwise—and no researchers report carrying out any field trials since the early 2000s, making these incidents a mystery to scientists and regulators.
Government agencies did not find evidence that the GM wheat had entered food supplies. Nevertheless, South Korea and Japan placed temporary bans on imports of wheat from the U.S. and Canada, respectively, in response to some of these incidents.
While there has been renewed debate about the alleged carcinogenic effects of glyphosate, the scientific consensus is that food from GM crops is safe for human consumption.
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