Following is a joint statement from U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers.
U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) were notified Friday, Sept. 26 that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has completed its investigation into the May 2013 discovery of an unapproved Roundup Ready (RR) trait in isolated volunteer wheat plants. APHIS has determined that the source of the RR trait is inconclusive but reconfirmed that there is no indication that any wheat with this regulated trait has entered the commercial supply chain. This is consistent with the results of independent testing by Japan and Korea that has not identified a single event among all classes of U.S. wheat exported to those countries. APHIS also noted that in 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded that the Roundup Ready trait in wheat did not pose a health risk in food or animal feed.
“As we have said before, nothing is more important than the trust wheat growers have earned with our customers,” said Paul Penner, NAWG president and wheat farmer from Hillsboro, Kan. “We appreciate the thorough and diligent investigation that APHIS has conducted and we accept its findings. We also believe those findings show that our customers can be confident that we are still producing a reliable supply of high-quality, wholesome and nutritious wheat.”
“As we move on from this isolated incident, wheat growers remain committed to keeping up the dialogue with partners and customers at home and around the world,” said Roy Motter, USW chairman and a Desert Durum® growers from Brawley, Calif. “We have always provided the resources and information they need to make the best decisions about the wheat they purchase and that will not change.”
Like many other farmer organizations from the United States, Canada and Australia, USW and NAWG believe innovation in wheat varieties is needed in the years ahead. Yield increases are needed because wheat is and will remain essential to helping meet rapidly growing global food demand. Changes in consumer preferences call for more sustainable production through the use of less water, fertilizer, fuel and pesticides and for improved wheat foods. The organizations applaud the increasing private and public research investment in hybridization, high through-put genetic screening and in biotechnology that will help farmers responsibly grow more and better wheat with less impact on the environment.
“At the same time, we understand that choice is paramount,” Motter said. “We respect consumer preferences and are committed to ensuring all customers have access to non-biotech or biotech wheat, whichever they may prefer. And we stand ready to assist all industry segments to assure supplies of non-biotech wheat within reasonable commercial tolerances to markets that require it.”
- APHIS Q&A Genetically Engineered Wheat Investigation
- USDA Statement
- USDA Video on APHIS Announcement