You probably read the news that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced that unapproved, genetically engineered (GE) wheat was found contaminating an Oregon farmer’s field. The GE wheat, known as Roundup Ready, was developed by the Monsanto Company to withstand direct application of Roundup (glyphosate) herbicide, and was never approved for sale.
The discovery of unapproved Roundup Ready wheat in a farmer’s field in Oregon, years after Monsanto terminated field testing, is just the latest example of Monsanto’s inability to keep their engineered genes under control. Until Monsanto and USDA begin to take gene flow from field tests more seriously, we can expect GE contamination to continue to cause havoc.
CFS is not standing idly by hoping Monsanto and USDA do the right thing. We are taking action. Center for Food Safety and Pacific Northwest wheat farmers have filed a class action lawsuit against Monsanto. Center for Food Safety and Pacific Northwest wheat farmers are representing the broad class of farmers affected by this contamination, seeking monetary compensation for farmers who have lost export markets, and forcing Monsanto to take measures to clean up the contamination and ensure it never happens again.
As we’ve warned for over a decade, GE crops simply can’t be controlled once they’re released into the environment. Past transgenic contamination episodes involving GE corn and GE rice triggered over $1 billion in losses and economic hardship to farmers, and recalls of food products containing illegal GE corn. CFS has been there every time, fighting in the courts, in the halls of Congress, and in communities to protect our food, our farms, and our environment from these risky GE crops.
With your support, we’ve been working to hold biotech companies like Monsanto accountable and tighten regulations over their experimental GE crop field trials for over a decade. And we’ve had a lot of successes — like our past litigation over similar field trials in Oregon and Hawaii for other GE crops in which we won substantial victories over USDA and industry for their field trial abuses and failures. Because of this litigation, we now have the legal ability to challenge the legality of field trials, and USDA can no longer ignore their environmental and socioeconomic impacts. We’ve even forced USDA to publicly admit new field trial contamination incidents, like this one, that they otherwise tried to keep secret.