GMO wheat

Mysterious Monsanto Roundup Ready GMO wheat found growing in an Oregon field last month appeared to be an isolated incident, but the company is actually testing GMO wheat in Hawaii and North Dakota.

Some people call it paradise, but the Hawaiian islands are home to some of the most aggressive testing sites for GMO crops by major biotech giants including Monsanto, Syngenta, BayerCropScience, Dow and BASF. The idyllic climate on islands like Kauai and Oahu give biotech companies additional growing seasons. (Read more about the open air GMO test fields in Kauai here.)

And according to Bloomberg, Monsanto planted 150 acres of GMO wheat in Hawaii last year and 300 acres in North Dakota already this year.

The company claims these field trials are entirely different than the GMO strain that appeared in Oregon. “This research is still in the very early phases and at least a decade away from commercial approval,” Lee Quarles, a Monsanto spokesman, told Bloomberg. “The Roundup Ready wheat project that is the subject of the USDA report was previously discontinued.”

The GMO wheat discovered in Oregon was part of Monsanto trials that ceased in 2005 because of global resistance to the crop. Wheat is a major export crop for the U.S. The Oregon discovery led countries including Japan, South Korea and much of the EU to stall imports from the US until testing can proved wheat is not contaminated with GMO strains. One US wheat farmer has already filed a negligence lawsuit against Monsanto over the potential losses the GMO wheat will cause.

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Image: U.S. Fish & Wildlife