June 24, 2013
Biotech giant Monsanto says that its unapproved experimental wheat
ended up growing at an Oregon field through what most likely was an
isolated act of sabotage.
“What happened in this field… is suspicious,” said Monsanto Chief Technology Officer Robb Fraley on Friday, reporting on the ongoing investigation into the scandal.
In late May, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the discovery of bioengineered wheat,
which had been made resistant to Roundup, a Monsanto-sold pesticide.
The plant was developed by Monsanto between 1998 and 2005, but was never
approved and made into a commercial product.
The company has thus far failed to determine how the crop entered the environment, and insisted that all genetically modified seeds were incinerated after testing.
The fact that the ‘Roundup Reade’ wheat was found growing at only one
spot of the 80-acre farm instead of being spread across it indicates
that contamination of seed supplies is unlikely, Fraley argued. The crop
was apparently planted there separately, he said, adding that the
farmer was “a victim” in the case.
He added that investigations conducted by the company, the USDA, and
Washington State University found no signs of contamination in other
Oregon fields after sampling over 97 percent of the state’s farmland.
“The grain is clean,” Fraley said. “This situation is
extremely isolated, with all the testing data again concluding that this
is isolated to a single field in Oregon.”