Less than a week after Japan halted wheat exports from the United States, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and a coalition of wheat farmers have filed a class action lawsuit against Monsanto. We're not surprised.
The genetically engineered wheat, which was developed by Monsanto from 1998 to 2005, was never approved to become a commercial crop. While all testing ended after 2005, strains of the GMO wheat was discovered in Oregon last week, leading Japan to stop all exports of white wheat from the Pacific Northwest. In the meantime, the UN has implemented testing to block GMO wheat from entering the food system, while South Korea has also implemented restrictions on American wheat.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Pacific Northwest wheat farmers and CFS, notes that Oregon wheat farmers dealt with lowered wheat prices and a depression in business, thanks to the discovery. The farmers are seeking compensation for the damages to their business, and want to force Monsanto to "take measures to clean up the contamination and ensure it never happens again," a press release says.
"The discovery of unapproved Roundup Ready wheat in a farmer's field in Oregon, years after Monsanto terminated field testing, is one more 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 escaped genes to continue to cause havoc," Martha Crouch, CFS consultant, said in a press release.
Another lawsuit against Monsanto, filed by a Kansas farmer, is also pending.
In the meantime, Monsanto has continued to claim that the discovery of the GMO wheat was an "isolated occurance," saying Wednesday that the original wheat stock was tested and found clean, while hinting at the possibility of sabotage.