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Monsanto Says Sabotage May Be Behind GMO Wheat in Oregon as More Farmers File Suit

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page and our Genetically Modified Wheat Resource Center page.

Could someone be out to get biotech seed producer Monsanto Co.?

In a Wednesday conference call with reporters, Monsanto Chief Technology Officer Robb Farley raised the possibility that the stand of genetically engineered wheat discovered in an Oregon field that has threatened U.S. exports of the crop may have been the result of the "purposeful mixing of seed."

While Farley said that the company's Roundup Ready seeds may have been planted inadvertently, sabotage remained a distinct possibility.

"We're considering all options and that's certainly one of the options," Fraley said.

Since last last week's discovery of pesticide resistant wheat, Monsanto said it had tested 31,200 seed samples in Oregon and Washington and that none showed evidence of further contamination.

Monsanto tested its GE wheat in more than 100 fields in 16 states, but stopped its experiments in 2005. Another reason the company suspects sabotage is because it concluded the Oregon tests in 2001 and all the seeds were either destroyed or sent to a U.S. Department of Agriculture facility in Colorado, Bloomberg reported.

Japan and South Korea - two countries that ban genetically modified organisms, or GMO, crops - both suspended U.S. wheat imports following last week's discovery of the Monsanto strain, causing wheat futures to tumble.

In response, three U.S. farmers - one in Kansas and two in Washington - have now filed lawsuits against the company.  

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