Monsanto says that the discovery of unapproved genetically modified wheat found in an Oregon field could have been the result of sabotage.
Initial tests conducted by Oregon State University in April detected the presence of the unapproved GM wheat, and a formal announcement was made by the US Department of Agriculture last week as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Monsanto’s chief technology officer Robb Fraley said that the incident was an isolated one and most likely a result of ‘accidental or purposeful mixing of seed.’
“We’re considering all options at this point, and that’s certainly one of the possibilities we’re looking at,” Fraley said during a press conference call.
Both Japan and South Korea halted wheat imports from the country due to the incident.
Monsanto say that they have tested 30,000 seed samples over the past week in Washington and Oregon. The GM giant says that none of the samples of wheat it tested in the region were positive to the unapproved GM trait, proving that the incident was isolated.
Monsanto have allegedly requested samples of the contaminated wheat from both the USDA and Oregon State University but have not yet received any.
The majority of corn and soybean crops in the US are genetically modified, however there are no commercialised wheat crops.
Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO is currently trialling GM wheat crops in NSW and the ACT. The CSIRO have received warnings from scientists across the globe on the potential dangers of genetically modified wheat crops, stating that they could pose significant health threats to humans and other animals.