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Republished with permission from the author Colin Todhunter.
What happens when you allow commercial interests free rein over a nation state's food and agricultural policies? Consumers and farmers end up paying the price. Take the current predicament of wheat contamination in the US.
Genetically engineered (GE) wheat is not approved to be grown for commercial use in the US or anywhere else in the world. Yet the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that unapproved GE wheat has been found growing in an Oregon wheat field. An Oregon farmer sprayed his wheat field, intending it to lay fallow for the next year. Despite multiple sprays of Monsanto's Round Up, the farmer found that the crops unexpectedly persisted, just as GE crops are engineered to do. This prompted him to send samples to a scientist at Oregon State University, who determined that the crops were infused with the RoundUp Ready gene. The USDA confirmed the results.
Since 1994, Monsanto has conducted 279 field trials of RoundUp Ready wheat over more than 4,000 acres of land in 16 states. The USDA has admitted that Monsanto's GMO experiments from 1998 to 2005 were held in open wheat fields. The genetically engineered wheat escaped and found its way into commercial wheat fields in Oregon (and possibly 15 other states), causing self-replicating genetic pollution that now taints the entire US wheat industry.
Contamination of non-GE crops is a serious concern. Worries about harm to human health and the environment are well documented. But GE contaminated wheat has wider ramifications. In the wake of the disclosure of contaminated wheat, Japan has canceled its offer to buy US western white wheat. Toru Hisadome, a Japanese farm ministry official in charge of wheat trading, is reported by Reuters news agency as saying that Japan will refrain from buying western white and feed wheat immediately.
Asian consumers are keenly sensitive to gene-altered food, with few countries allowing imports of such cereals for human consumption. Asia imports more than 40 million tonnes of wheat annually, almost a third of the global trade. The bulk of the region's supplies come from the US . Meanwhile, the European Union has prepared to begin testing shipments for the RoundUp Ready gene.
This all could have major implications for the US economy. In 2012, exported wheat represented a gross sum of $18.1 billion, with 90 percent of Oregon 's wheat exported abroad. Mike Adams of Natural News says that all wheat produced in the US will now be heavily scrutinized and possibly even rejected by other nations that traditionally import US wheat. This obviously has enormous economic implications for US farmers and agriculture. Adams argues that genetic experiments which 'escaped' into commercial wheat fields could devastate US wheat farmers. The floor could drop out on wheat prices, and there may well be a huge backlash against the USDA by US farmers who stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars (3).