among wheat industry representatives, technologydevelopers, and major users of wheat both in the UnitedStates and overseas about when GE wheat varietiesmight be commercially introduced into the worldwidemarketplace.
Q: Does the U.S. export wheat from Oregon?A:
Yes. According to Oregon Wheat Commission,Oregon exports 90 percent of its wheat production.
Q: What type of wheat is exported from Oregon?A:
According to Oregon Wheat Commission, Oregonproduces predominately soft white wheat and exports90 percent of its wheat production.
Q: Is this GE wheat present in commerce?A:
At this time, we have no information that thisGE glyphosate-resistant wheat variety has enteredcommerce. There is no public health concern. Ourfocus is on our ongoing investigation.
Q: What do you think the worldwide impact of this
nding will be?A:
We don’t wish to speculate on market reaction. Asboth a leading producer and consumer of wheat, theUnited States is directly aware of the concerns thatan event like this could raise in the food/feed supplychain, from seed producers and farmers to retailers andconsumers. We are working hard to reassure domesticand global wheat consumers that this development,although unwelcome, does not pose a risk to foodsafety.
Q: Might GE wheat be in U.S. food aid shipments?A:
Foods exported commercially or as food aid bythe United States are the same foods consumedby Americans every day. This is the case with allcommodities, including wheat. This development doesnot compromise our ability to provide recipients of U.S.food aid with healthy, wholesome, and nutritious foods.For the 2012/13 marketing year (June 2012-May2013),USDA and USAID have provided an estimated 498,000tons of wheat as food aid with an estimated valuebetween $180 -$200 million.
Q: What does APHIS’ investigative process entail?A:
APHIS may refer potential situations to itsInvestigative and Enforcement Services (IES) stafffor further investigation. APHIS has done so in thisinstance and an onsite investigation has been initiated.APHIS also works closely with State Departments ofAgriculture and other federal agencies, including theFood and Drug Administration, the EnvironmentalProtection Agency and the Department of Justice,to ensure compliance with APHIS regulations. ThePlant Protection Act provides for substantial penaltiesfor serious infractions, including civil penalties up to$1,000,000 and the possibility of criminal prosecution.APHIS has a Memorandum of Understanding withUSDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and GrainInspection, Packers and Stockyards Administrationfor those agencies to provide technical sampling andtesting expertise, when needed to support an APHISinvestigation.
Q: What did USDA test as part of its investigation?A:
At this time, USDA has tested DNA extracted fromtissue from wheat plants collected in the
eld by APHISinvestigators; seeds or kernels of suspect wheat are notavailable at this time.
Q: Are there plans to expand the testing for thisevent?A:
USDA is conducting the investigation in a step-wiseapproach. Any additional testing for the investigationwill depend on the outcome of tests currently underway.
Q: What tests are available to detect this event? Arethese commercially available?A:
The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, whichdetects the DNA of the GE event, is used to detectit. The PCR test is a highly sensitive test that must beconducted by a competent laboratory with a validatedmethod. Currently, there are no commercially availablerapid tests validated for detecting the glyphosate-resistant trait in wheat. At APHIS’ request, GIPSA iscurrently evaluating whether rapid tests validated fordetecting the trait in other grains can do so in wheat.
Q: Will APHIS take any action against the Oregonfarmer in this situation?A:
We have no reason to believe at this time thatthe farmer who reported the presence of glyphosate-resistant GE wheat volunteers in his
eld has committedany infraction.
Q: If APHIS were to detect GE glyphosate-resistantwheat in commercial seed and grain, what wouldAPHIS’ next steps be?A:
In instances when there are detections of low levelsof regulated GE plant material in commercial seeds andgrain, APHIS will initiate an inquiry to determine thecircumstances surrounding the release, evaluate therisk, and determine what regulatory actions includingremedial and enforcement actions, are required.This is the basis for APHIS’ low level presence (LLP)policy, which APHIS clari
ed in March 2007. If APHISdetermines that an incident involving regulated GE