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Monsanto suggests sabotage in modified wheat case

By Mary Clare Jalonick

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 02:59 p.m. HST, Jun 22, 2013

WASHINGTON » Monsanto Co. is floating the theory that some of the company's detractors may have intentionally planted genetically modified wheat discovered in an Oregon field last month.

The St. Louis-based company said in a call with reporters Friday that sabotage is the most likely scenario partly because the modified wheat was not distributed evenly throughout the field and found in patches. Robb Fraley, Monsanto's executive vice president and chief technology officer, said that is the "pattern you would expect" if someone had dispersed the seeds.

The Agriculture Department is investigating the discovery of the wheat, which is not approved for farming in the United States. The department has declined to speculate on what caused the wheat to sprout in Oregon but has said it appears to be an isolated incident.

Fraley said suggested that the culprits could be activists who have campaigned against genetically modified foods, which are engineered to include certain traits.

"It's fair to say there are folks who don't like biotechnology and would use this to create problems," he said.

Agriculture Department officials have said the wheat is the same strain as a genetically modified wheat that was designed to be herbicide-resistant and was legally tested by seed giant Monsanto a decade ago but never approved.

Japan, Korea and Taiwan have suspended imports of western white wheat from the Pacific Northwest as the USDA investigates.

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eleu808 wrote:
We get to believe this from a company that poisoned our troops in Viet Nam. While in Vietnam, the veterans were told not to worry, and were persuaded the chemical was harmless.[55] After returning home, Vietnam veterans began to suspect their ill health or the instances of their wives having miscarriages or children born with birth defects might be related to Agent Orange and the other toxic herbicides to which they were exposed in Vietnam. Veterans began to file claims in 1977 to the Department of Veterans Affairs for disability payments for health care for conditions they believed were associated with exposure to Agent Orange, or more specifically, dioxin, but their claims were denied unless they could prove the condition began when they were in the service or within one year of their discharge. By April 1993, the Department of Veterans Affairs had only compensated 486 victims, although it had received disability claims from 39,419 soldiers who had been exposed to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam.[56]
on June 22,2013 | 04:58PM
mitt_grund wrote:
UH botany department had a major role in the development of Agent Orange. At a student forum in the late 60's, when asked about the ethical considerations of defoliating the Vietnam jungles with Agent Orange and its possible long term effects, the then-department head declared before a student audience words to the effect, we just do the research requested. It is not our responsibility to consider the morality or long-term outcomes. So back then I realized that a sense of ethics does not enter into the picture where science in the service of the "greater good" is concerned. Just think of this simple fact, the wheat survived herbicide spraying five times normal the lethal dose. Doesn't say what would happen to people ingesting the herbicide-laced wheat. How much cleaning would be necessary to remove residual herbicide? Yes, it does sound like eco-terrorism. Similar to the papaya desecration we have had here in Hawaii.
on June 23,2013 | 03:20AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Chemicals and seed breeding is different?
on June 23,2013 | 06:53AM
st1d wrote:
activist eco-terrorism makes the most sense.

the strain was out of use for over ten years, not used on the farm, not found in any other farm closer to experimental sites, not found in a wind dispersed pattern, and planted in a small section of the farm.

all signs that a despicable hand was at work in distributing this defunct strain in an effort to disrupt the farming industry.

on June 22,2013 | 06:11PM
palani wrote:
The technophobes and anti-science zealots cannot win the debate on the basis of their contrived "facts", so they resort to the usual tactics of sabotage, disinformation campaigns, and violence.
on June 23,2013 | 04:54AM
Honulove wrote:
During 2006 and 2007 traces of three varieties of unapproved GM rice owned by Bayer CropScience were found in US rice exports in over 30 countries worldwide. At the time of discovery only one of the contaminating varieties (LLRICE62) had approval for cultivation in the US, the other two varieties (LLRICE601 and LLRICE604) had not. .........None of the contaminating varieties had approval for cultivation or consumption anywhere else in the world ......... No GM rice has ever been grown commercially in the US and the source of the contamination is believed to be field trials of herbicide tolerant rice conducted between the mid-1990s and early-2000s.The USDA official report into the incident identified the field trials as the source of contamination but was unable to decide whether gene flow (cross pollination) or mechanical mixing was the mechanism responsible for the contamination............ So the source of the contamination was derived from rice grown five to ten years previous to actually being discovered in our rice exports!
on June 23,2013 | 01:10AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Where is the hazard to the seeds for unconsumption?
on June 23,2013 | 06:54AM
cartwright wrote:
Sabotage?!? Really! That's Monsantos best answer? Then the Word Trade Center was indeed blown up by our own government. The Bermuda Triangle is a portal to outer space. And pigs fly indeed. The billion dollar damage is done and wheat farmers, processors, distributors, commodity traders, grocery chain buyers learned their lesson: Don't believe it's harmless when not labeled as GMO--it will ruin your business!
on June 23,2013 | 06:30AM
Mike174 wrote:
Monsanto has sabotaged the planet!
on June 23,2013 | 07:23AM
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