Claire CaJacob, Global Wheat Technology Lead for Monsanto, stands in the growth chamber at Monsanto’s Chesterfield Village Research Center. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, [email protected] 01-08-14.
Oh No, No, NO!!! No GMO WHEAT.
GMO wheat is not yet on the market, but Monsanto has been hard at work in their Chesterfield Village facility, where one particular 10-foot-by-20-foot growth chamber on the fourth floor of Building GG is filled with young wheat plants. The plants are part of the experiment to create a new strain of GMO wheat that will be resistant to three kinds of herbicides–glyphosate, glufosinate, and dicamba. It began, according to Tim Barker in his January 11, 2015 article published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, in the summer of 2009 when Monsanto “grabbed the raw seed materials needed by its scientists, spending $45 million on WestBred, a Montana wheat breeding company.”
Monsanto’s first stab at introducing Roundup Ready wheat ended in 2004 when the company decided not to seek approval because the market wasn’t ready for it, but in 2013 rogue GMO wheat was found in Oregon, news of which immediately rippled to overseas buyers and caused importing countries including Japan and South Korea to suspend purchases over fears of contamination. The USDA investigation called the Oregon case an isolated incident, however the subsequent discovery of a genetically modified strain in the field of a Montana wheat farmer more or less put the lie to that story. In November of 2014, Monsanto settled the lawsuit brought by farmers in the Pacific Northwest for $2.4 million to cover damages due to the loss of export markets.
The failure of the USDA to recognize the “pervasive and persistent nature” of contamination from outdoor field trials, is a travesty of long term planning for food security, as is the bald one-sided support of corporate agribusiness over the interests of small farmers and environmentalists.
What to do? Contact your elected representatives at both the federal and state levels. Let them know how you feel. Even more importantly, switch brands to avoid GMOs already in your food. And let companies know why you’re switching!
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About IRT. The Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) is a non-profit organization that researches and reports news and information about the health risks of genetically engineered food. GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are present in processed foods and many food products.
Major commodity crops raised from GMO seed include: corn (90%), soybeans (93%), canola (93%), cotton (90%), and sugar beets (98%).* GMO sweet corn, papaya, zucchini, and yellow summer squash are also for sale in grocery stores, but in lesser amounts. Genetically modified alfalfa is grown for use as hay and forage for animals. For more information about avoiding GMOs in food, go to NonGMOShoppingGuide.com.
*percentages are based on U.S. acreage as of 2013 (USDA)