GM wheat appearance in Alberta remains a mystery

GM wheat has arrived in Canada, but unfortunately it was in the form of an unapproved trait found in an unknown variety of the crop.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed that Monsanto’s Roundup Ready trait has been discovered in wheat growing along an access road leading to an oil rig in a field in southern Alberta.

The plants where found in the summer of 2017 when they were sprayed with Roundup and didn’t die.

The farmer reported the disturbing discovery to Alberta Agriculture, which tested the plants and then passed its findings along to the CFIA for further testing.

David Bailey, director of the CFIA’s plant production division, said they can’t speculate on how the GM wheat ended up in the Alberta field, but he is confident it never left the location.

Seven plants were taken for testing and the remainder were destroyed. The agency has surveyed fields surrounding the location and tested the crops harvested on that farm in 2017.

“This is why we can say with confidence that it is not in the grain system and not in the seed system because we were able to isolate it and control it and destroy it,” Bailey told reporters during a June 14 conference call.

CFIA scientists are baffled by how the trait ended up in an unknown variety of wheat. There are 450 known varieties of wheat in Canada.

There have been Roundup Ready wheat trials in Canada, but they were conducted hundreds of kilometres away from where the rogue plants were discovered and the trials happened many years ago and never with this variety of wheat.

Canada is reassuring its trade partners that there is no GM wheat in the commercial system. The CFIA has developed a test kit for importers to use to detect the trait.

The CFIA said it is prepared for any questions importers may ask and is providing them with information to help them make “informed, science-based decisions.”

CFIA will be monitoring the farm and surrounding areas for the next three years. The land where the GM wheat was discovered will be kept fallow and will be sprayed with a herbicide that kills GM wheat.

Contact sean.pratt@producer.com

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Comments

  • Spike Olynyk

    Here we go again Triffid flax. BSE in cattle. Watch this market go down the toilet because of 7 heads of wheat.

  • Eric Bjerregaard

    I am quite sure that anti- GE wacktivists would never do something like this. Right. Japan has already over reacted according to a story I just was.

    • razorjack

      Where did the activist gain access to the seed? It was unapproved Monsanto GMO seed that they are responsible for keeping secure.

      • patzagame

        They must have shipped it thru the U.S. postal service,lol.

    • Rob Bright

      Sounds like the fear mongering tactics of a pro-GMO, pro-agrochemical industry spokesperson and propagandist. …

  • RobertWager

    So the anti-GMO activists are at it again. This marks the third time these people have intentionally spread stolen GE wheat seed on farmers fields. Despicable activity.

    • First Officer

      It’s the only explanation that is able to fit the facts, however unlikely.

      • S.G.

        What facts? Right, there aren’t any.

        • RobertWager
          • Goldfinger

            Nothing in this report support your claims of sabotage by GMO activists, Wager.

          • S.G.

            The corporation’s tentacles are felt in every sector of the industry, including Health Canada the CFIA, the USDA & FDA etc. etc., and cannot be trusted. There’s a lot of bias, conflicts of interests and financial ties involved as well. Health Canada and the CFIA also tell us GMOs are safe, in which they are not, but you keep believing them.

        • First Officer

          1) Every sighting to date has been hundreds of miles and many years apart from the original testing sites and times, without any intervening sightings.

          2) Wheat seeds can’t survive years on end in the wild in those environments without germinating.

          3) Wheat seeds don’t travel that far by themselves. They are large and much heavier than grass seeds.

          4) Every sighting has been small, not interspersed through an entire field or good portion thereof, which would be expected if the seeds somehow got mixed in regular seed back in packaging.

          Not facts but necessary for a crime:

          Motive: Anti-GMO groups want GM tech to be disruptive to prove their supposition that they are dangerous. They have already engaged in other illegal activities to stop or disrupt their development. Causing economic chaos that they can then point to is not above them.

          Opportunity and means:

          Greenpeace had already managed to infiltrate a delivery service to intercept a package of GM rice to replace it with ordinary rice. This shows they have the means and know how to infiltrate organizations to get their hands on what they want. They and other organizations have breached security to destroy test fields of GM crops, including wheat (in Australia). It would have been trivial to also have grabbed a some heads of wheat or developing seeds at the time of such breaches.

          • Goldfinger

            Maybe the biotech chemical industry is trying to contaminate conventional wheat seed.

          • First Officer
          • ROBIN

            Henry Miller’s blog is not proof of anything.

          • First Officer

            Inside of it:

            In 1995, the organization announced that it had “intercepted a package containing rice seed genetically manipulated to produce a toxic insecticide, as it was being exported . . . [and] swapped the genetically manipulated seed with normal rice.” [I. Meister, “Uncontrolled Trade in Genetically Manipulated Products,” press release, April 7, 1995].

          • First Officer
      • richard

        Yeah it could only be the activists…… kinda like pig genes in tomatoes, rGBH in milk, neonics in groundwater, glyphosate in everything…. But hey…… just because youre paranoid doesn’t mean someone isn’t out to get you……No point with conspiracy when arrogance and incompetence will suffice…….Can you spell hubris?

      • patzagame

        ROFL,because anti-GMO activists always have access to an unknown variety of wheat. Get real!

    • razorjack

      No, Wager. You have no proof that that is what happened. More likely the wheat was put there by the only people that are supposed to have access to the seed. So tell us how the so called anti-GMO activists got access to the seed that Monsanto has sole control of, please.

      • RobertWager

        Hi Ted. Here is the CFIA report. they examined possible sources of the GE wheat. After reading it would you please come back and we can discuss the only option left (intentional planting by someone) http://www.inspection.gc.ca/plants/plants-with-novel-traits/general-public/wheat-detection-2018/incident-report/eng/1528490127607/1528490159708

        • Goldfinger

          The report doesn’t address the logical issue that razorjack raised here, Wager. Tell us how anyone except Monsanto, who had control over their unapproved GMO seed, could have gained access to this seed. Until you can do that there is no way that you can truthfully claim that the contamination was caused by GMO activists. It is Monsanto’s responsibility to keep their unapproved GMOs secured and out of any other organizations hands. The blame should be squarely on Monsanto, yet Canadian wheat farmers will be the ones to suffer.

        • razorjack

          Please don’t address me as Ted, Wager. My name is Brian, not Ted.

    • S.G.

      Prove it. It’s more like the corrupt industry you are so infatuated with and their minions doing this, to ruin our wheat industry.

    • Sheryl McCumsey

      LOL-hilarious. This is not marketed ANYWHERE and yet somehow anti-GMO activists are at it again. HOW exactly did they get the seeds since this is supposed to be controlled? Oh, we don’t know how it happened but be assured we know this is not anywhere else? How illogical of you Robert. The world does not want your pesticides and GE crap. This is why Japan is now putting restrictions on this. This is why 4000 plaintiffs are suing Monsanto. This is why farmers need to understand how chemical corporations are not their friends- they are in this for profit and will harm farmers, consumers, livestock and any living thing.

      • S.G.

        Typical liars.

      • Peter Olins

        “The world does not want your…”

        Thanks for sharing your insight into world opinion. I guess the Pew Research Center will be going out of business.

  • Frank

    No GM Wheat … no problem!

  • Progressives Progress

    Just BAN GMOs period. Once they get out there is no escape the decimation.

    • First Officer

      We’re all still waiting for the Apocalypse from the presently commercially grown GM crops. Did the anti’s, at least, set a date?

  • Progressives Progress

    Meanwhile the usual Big GMO operatives are attempting the point blame at others.
    It’s not others producing those seeds.

  • Sheryl McCumsey

    Alberta has tripled the use of this herbicide in which 4000 plaintiffs are suing Monsanto for their cancer…….markets are already unhappy with the contamination of this herbicide in wheat- NOW they have to deal with the reality that once you put a product in the field all you need is a bird to take a seed and fly with it. SMH- that is just too challenging to image! Farmers do not NEED this! Recent studies show that below acceptable limits this messes with the microbiome-we only have some of the highest rates of gut disease in the world- GEE how does that happen? Chronic diseases in Canada are a serious problem………we don’t think spraying poisons that kill things have no impact on anything else?

    • Jason

      Could you supply any of these “recent studies” you’re referring to?

    • richard

      Funny how its the same crowd of tired corporate apologists, ten years later still trying to defend the worlds longest running PR disaster…. What the nozzleheads and gene jockeys completely miss is that wheat is at the same price it was in 1978…. we don’t need another chemically dependent, grow more get less weed (GM wheat) in the arsenal of failed GM fantasy football marketing illusions?

      • Welderone

        Yes, you are correct Richard. Wheat is the same price as 1978. And other GM crops such as canola only aided in bringing the price of canola down because of the oversupply.

  • RobertWager

    Would someone at Western Producer please look at the IP addresses of the commenters. Far too many sock puppets in the likes category.

    • Frank

      Likewise I’m sure!

      Could someone at the Western Producer reign in the name calling, Re: ‘Wacktiviists’ and unfounded allegations of tampering. These are desperate childish contributions!

  • Cletus DeBunkerman

    South Korea suspends wheat and flour sales from Canada over GMO plants found in Alberta
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/south-korea-wheat-flour-canada-farming-gmo-genetically-modified-1.4710750

    • E. Sandwich

      Monsanto can’t keep it’s unapproved GMO seed secured and Canadian farmers will pay the price. Sad!

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