Monsanto GMO wheat found growing in Montana

A year after the discovery of Monsanto's experimental genetically modified wheat growing in Oregon (See: Monsanto sued by environmental group, farmers over GM wheat), the company's GMO wheat  had been discovered growing in the second US field in Montana, the online edition of Russion TV news network RT reported.

The plants were discovered at a test site at Montana State University, where back in 2000-2003 Monsanto had conducted field trials of its wheat, genetically modified to tolerate Roundup herbicide.

Although the government believed the wheat did not reach the market, it has launched an investigation into finding the rogue plants at a site where tests were not supposed to be conducted after 2003, USDA's Department of Agriculture's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced yesterday.

Bernadette Juarez, director of investigative and enforcement services for APHIS said an investigation into the regulatory compliance issue, had been opened into the issue. She added however that there were no safety issues with this wheat.

The last such discovery in Oregon led to several international customers postponing US wheat deliveries, though, this time exports are not likely to be affected say US officials. She added APHIS remained confident that the wheat exports would continue without disruption.

US industry leaders also hoped that exports should not be hurt by the discovery of GMO wheat in Montana.

Meanwhile, industry leaders said yesterday that US wheat exports should not be hurt by the second discovery of experimental Monsanto Co genetically modified wheat growing in a US state where it was not approved, as the wheat was not believed to be in commercial channels, Reuters reported.

APHIS announced yesterday that it was investigating the discovery of wheat plants containing an unapproved genetic alteration in Montana.

"We are in the process now of informing our international wheat buyers," Alan Tracy, president of US Wheat Associates, said in a statement.

According to US Wheat and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG), the industry was reassured by regulatory assurances that no biotech wheat had entered the commercial supply chain.

The groups said they had been notified by APHIS  in mid-August of the discovery of Monsanto's "Roundup Ready" wheat in Montana.

According to Arlan Suderman, market analyst with Water Street Solutions, some Asian buyers of American wheat could pull back from new purchases, but the reaction would likely be more muted than last year.