On June 7, 2019, USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed a finding of genetically engineered (GE) wheat plants growing in an unplanted agricultural field in Washington State. The GE wheat plants in question were resistant to the herbicide glyphosate commonly known as Roundup.
Initially USDA laboratory testing identified wheat referred to as MON 71800 in the samples from the plants on the farm. After further investigation it was determined that a second, separate Bayer Crop Sciences wheat, event MON 71300, was also present at the location.
While this appears to be an isolated incident, with no evidence that GE wheat has entered the food supply or commerce, the U.S Food & Drug administration has stated it “would have no safety concerns in the unlikely event that low levels of MON 71300 wheat or MON 71800 wheat were present in the food supply”.
Test materials for MON 71800 are readily available and have been used by trading partners from a previous detection of GE wheat. Bayer Crop Sciences is making a MON 71300 test kit available for trading partners. USDA’s Federal Grain Inspection Service has confirmed that the new test kit will detect MON 71300.