The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) is investigating the discovery of genetically modified (GM) wheat found growing in an unplanted agricultural field—the site of a former field trial—in Washington state. There are no GM wheat varieties for sale or in commercial production in the U.S. at this time, as APHIS has not deregulated any GM wheat varieties.
According to APHIS, there is no sign that the GM wheat ever entered the U.S. food supply chain. The wheat found is resistant to glyphosate, commonly referred to as RoundUp.
This is not the first discovery of GM wheat. Previously, the unapproved plants were found in Alberta, Canada (2018), Washington (2016), Montana (2014), and Oregon (2013).
Since these findings, USDA strengthened its oversight of regulated GM wheat field trials. APHIS now requires developers to apply for a permit for field trials involving GM wheat beginning with GM wheat planted on or after January 1, 2016. Bringing GM wheat under permit enables APHIS to create and enforce permit conditions that ensure confinement and minimize the risk that the regulated GM wheat will persist in the environment.
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