It’s not the first time.
In the late-1990s, agriculture company Monsanto began developing wheat genetically modified to resist the company’s Roundup weed killer. Monsanto ended the project in 2004, and to this day, no one is allowed to sell genetically modified wheat in the United States.
But on Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed the discovery of Roundup-resistant GM wheat growing in an unplanted field in Washington state — a startling example of the long-term impact GM experiments can have on an ecosystem.
The wheat doesn’t have “Product of Monsanto” printed on its stem, but the connection between the newly discovered plants and the controversial company, which Bayer purchased in 2018, is pretty clear.
GM wheat fugitives
The USDA has already found GM wheat confirmed to belong to Monsanto growing in the wild three other times, most recently in 2016 in Washington state, and Bayer has already noted its involvement in the new investigation.
“We have been informed by USDA of a possible detection of GM wheat in Washington State, possibly on the site of a former field trial,” Bayer Crop Sciences spokeswoman Charla Lord told Reuters. “We are cooperating with USDA to gather more information and facts as the agency reviews the situation.”
Thankfully, the USDA wrote in its initial statement that it has found “no evidence that GE wheat has entered the food supply.”
Safe or not, GMO wheat is not allowed for commercial use or production in the U.S. or anywhere in the world for that matter. And yet this is the third such discovery of Monsanto’s rogue GMO wheat in the U.S. in the last three consecutive years.