The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) posted information regarding detection of GE wheat in Washington State, which can be found here. Over the past several weeks NAEGA has been working closely with APHIS, the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) and regional and national industry leaders regarding this the finding of that a few wheat plants that exhibited glyphosate resistance found in a fallow field in Washington State was MON71700. Our understanding is that MON71700 is a sister event of MON71800, the event detected in an isolated incident in an Oregon field in 2013. As a sister event, MON71700 has the same inserted DNA as MON71800, just in a different genomic location. MON71700 was evaluated in limited field trials in the Pacific Northwest from 1998 to 2001 but never commercialized. Monsanto’s former glyphosate-tolerant wheat program was shut down in 2004-2005 and Monsanto has not conducted further transgenic wheat trials in the Pacific Northwest since that time.
APHIS has advised NAEGA that there is no evidence of a presence of either MON 71700 or MON71800 in any GMO in the U.S. wheat grain supply. USDA is working to ensure that the current harvest remains free of GE material. USDA FAS, with the support of APHIS and the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) is communicating facts to foreign governments, and Monsanto has developed a validated new test method that detects MON71700 and 71800 and is working to make this test available to foreign governments who request it.
Currently, Japan and Korea have requested the new test method and indicated that they will take some actions to suspend imports of U.S. origin wheat until officials can deploy these new tests. Japan has already announced that it will take Western White Wheat off of its August 4 tender. We expect Korea to enable the new test this week and Japan to do so by the end of August if not sooner. Taiwan also requested and has been provided with the new test method that detects both MON71800 and 71700.
NAEGA will continue to follow this issue and release updates to members as the situation develops. Please contact Gary or Ryan if you have any questions.