GMO wheat found last month in an Oregon field may have escaped from a government-controlled facility in Fort Collins, Colorado. The USDA investigation into how the Monsanto genetically-modified wheat wound up on the farmer’s property years after growing trials concluded remains ongoing. The USDA has been able to confirm that the genetically engineered wheat was stored at the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation facility until early 2012.
Reuters obtained documents related to the Monsanto GMO wheat, which include correspondence between the biotech giant and the USDA-related facility in Colorado. The National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation has the capability to maintain and store seeds for decades without a loss of viability.
The genetically engineered wheat found in Oregon was reportedly resistant to Roundup Ready, a popular chemical pesticide sold by Monsanto. The modified resistance presence in the GE wheat reportedly made Monsanto feel that the reemergence of the crop could have been an act of sabotage. The GMO wheat was developed by the biotech company between 1998 and 2005.
Monsanto officials maintain the genetically modified wheat was destroyed at their direction and the company had no further use for the seeds since government approval for commercial sale had not been issued. The biotech company reportedly believed that all the wheat had been incinerated at the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation facility in January last year.
Robb Fraley, a chief technology officer at Monsanto, called the wheat discovery an isolated incident and deemed what occurred in the field suspicious activity. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the discovery of genetically modified wheat in Oregon prompted wheat prices to drop and a rejection of planned orders by agriculture officials in multiple countries.
USDA investigators are now researching the handling and transportation process which occurred when 43 containers of GMO wheat were sent to the Fort Collins facility in 2005. The storage containers delivered to the government-controlled facility in Colorado contained approximately 1,000 varieties of seeds. Monsanto also reportedly stored genetically modified wheat at a company-owned building in St. Louis.
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