South Korea Is Latest To Suspend US Wheat Imports In Aftermath Of Monsanto Rogue Wheat Discovery

Tyler Durden's picture

The global Monsanto genetically modified wheat scandal is getting worse.

As a reminder, recently news broke out that a rogue genetically modified strain of wheat developed by Monsanto, had been found in an Oregon field late last month. But while modified food has long been a diet staple, this particular breed was the first discovery of an unapproved strain, and what made things worse is the lack of any information how the rogue grain had escape from a field trial a decade ago. As Reuters reports, "even after weeks of investigation, experts are baffled as to how the seed survived for years after Monsanto had ceased all field tests of the product. It was found in a field growing a different type of wheat than Monsanto's strain, far from areas used for field tests, according to an Oregon State University wheat researcher who tested the strain."

The USDA was quick to deny any suggestion of public danger:

The USDA said the GM wheat found in Oregon posed no threat to human health, and also said there was no evidence that the grain had entered the commercial supply chain.


But the discovery threatens to stoke consumer outcry over the possible risk of cross-contaminating natural products with genetically altered foods, and may embolden critics who say U.S. regulation of GMO products is lax.

This is compounded by the still fresh memory of the glaring and repeated lies by the Japanese government in regards to the Fukushima explosion, making some wonder just how far the government is willing to go to cover up potential threats if the alternative is widespread panic.

It is all the more alarming because the wheat strain was thought to have been eliminated after test trials ended in 2005, as Monsanto abandoned efforts to secure regulatory approval due to worldwide opposition. While there have been more than 20 majors violations of U.S. regulations on handling or co-mingling biotechnology crops, none have ever involved wheat before.

Ironically, it was that master hypocrite Japan, which is now feeding its population rice grown in the Fukushima evacuation zone, that was first to halt US grain shipments,

[M]ajor buyer Japan canceled plans to buy U.S. wheat while the Europe Union said it would step up testing.


Some analysts feared a potentially damaging blow to the $8 billion wheat export business, recalling the more than yearlong disruption to corn sales following a similar discovery in 2000.


"Unless there's a quick resolution, this is not going to be good for the export market," said Art Liming, grain futures specialist with Citigroup.

And as the global concern about just what consumers are putting into their mouths spreads, South Korean millers were the latest to just announce a suspension of US wheat imports:

South Korean millers suspended imports of U.S. wheat on Friday and some Asian countries stepped up inspections after the discovery of an unapproved strain of genetically modified wheat in the United States, but stopped short of imposing import bans.


South Korea - which last year sourced roughly half of its total wheat imports of 5 million metric tons from the U.S. - has also raised quarantine measures on U.S. feed wheat, while Thailand put ports on alert.

As more countries follow South Korea's example, Asia may suddenly find itself with a major wheat shortage:

Asia imports more than 40 million metric tons of wheat annually, almost a third of the global trade of 140-150 million metric tons. The bulk of the region's supplies come from the U.S., the world's biggest exporter, and Australia, the No. 2 supplier.


But Australia will struggle to soak up extra demand as its supplies tighten in the wake of unsustainably brisk exports and growing demand from domestic livestock farmers.


"The bulk of grain suppliers (in Australia) are cancelling shipping slots and selling grain to domestic feed mills and feedlots," said Stefan Meyer, a manager for cash markets at brokerage INTL FCStone in Sydney.


Japan is not rushing to find alternative sources of wheat, however, with the county's flour milling industry body saying they have sufficient stocks for the short term.


"We haven't thought about alternatives to the grade or proposed candidates to the farm ministry (at this stage)," said Masaaki Kadota, executive director of the Flour Millers Association of Japan.

Perhaps just as well: what better way to avoid even more soaring food import costs than due to an embargo on foreign grain imports. It is unclear if the proposed alternative will be five-eyed fish caught off the Fukushima coast.

Another country even more reliant on the US for wheat is the Philippines:

An industry official in the Philippines, which buys about 4 million metric tons of wheat a year and relies mainly on U.S. supplies, said the country could turn to Canada if it decides not to import from the U.S.

Hopefully Monsanto's GMed strain didn't mysteriously cross the Canada border as well. Which it very well may have: as of now the source of the spread of the rogue wheat is completely unknown:

Bob Zemetra, the Oregon State researcher, said a local farmer contacted the university in late April after noticing that some wheat plants survived an application of herbicide that was being used to kill off unwanted plants in the fallow field.


Most plants died, but a few wheat plants unexpectedly emerged after the spraying. Researchers determined the wheat is a strain of Roundup-Ready tested by Monsanto in Oregon fields from 1999 to 2001.


GM crops tolerate certain pesticides, allowing farmers to improve weed control and increase yields.


Zemetra said Monsanto had been field-testing spring wheat, while the "volunteer" plants discovered in the eastern Oregon field were winter wheat. The two varieties pollinate at different times, making it unlikely for the GMO traits to have been carried into the field by wind.


"That's why it's a mystery," he said.


Farmers, wondering whether their wheat could unknowingly be genetically modified, have flooded farm bureaus with questions. They should not spray crops with Roundup to check whether they will survive, said Mike Flowers, extension cereals specialist for Oregon State University.

The final word is not surprising: keep calm and keep eating.

"The recommendation right now is to not panic," he said. "We really need
to let the investigators do their jobs and get more information before
people panic. We don't know if it's widespread. Right now, we know it's
in one field

There's that... And let's not forget the government is always there to help you.

But while the potential dangers are clear for all, one wonder: in a world in which millions of people eat the mystery meat contained in McNuggets, not to mention KFC, each and every day, isn't it a little too hypocritical to be worried about the genetic make up of a loaf of bread?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
chumbawamba's picture

They kill off the bees to prevent pollination, then flood the biosphere with their engineered and patented genetic garbage, taking over all known plant life.  Pretty soon, Monsanto has the keys to all vegetative growth planetwide.  You want a vegetable, a fruit, a bush, a lawn or a tree?  Ask Monsanto for permission.

I am Chumbawamba.

chumbawamba's picture

Grape vines and olive trees don't require pollination to fruit.  In the Middle East, a staple of their diet is (surprise) grapes (and its leaves), and olives.  Makes you wonder...connect the dots.

I am Chumbawamba.

john39's picture

the goal is nothing short of owning the human genome...  an all of nature with it.

knukles's picture

Fuck Monsanto  ... as in arse pollinate

wombats's picture

This is good.  The whole world should stop all imports of any US produced food until the US outlaws use of any GMOs!

Kiss My Icelandic Ass's picture



I actually bought an old copy of Carson's "Silent Spring" (paperpack) some time ago. The price on the cover was 75 cents. I asked the bookseller if it was still available at that price :)

Shitters_Full's picture

You should ask your bookseller if he/she can show you where to turn off the bold in your posts.  I'll give you a fine fiatski dollar for that.

gmrpeabody's picture

"worse is the lack of any information how the rogue grain had escape from a field trial a decade ago."

They probably went underground...

Proofreder's picture

How does wild grain survive and spread ?

Birds, and mobile animals and vehicles.

And with a headstart from Insanto, the plant adapted

and evolved, like any other organism.

Probably spreads like a weed.

Mother Nature always bats last.

Smiddywesson's picture

Well too bad it wasn't a virus modified to destroy all humanity so we can study such things, I'm told those beasties can't ever escape the lab.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

When you hear the word "containment" you know it's time to panic. Super bugs were " contained " in CAFO fields and animals raised there were pronounced by the USDA as safe.We microbiologists were told MRSA was " contained" in nursing homes after we saw a dramatic incidence in patients residing there 20 years ago. Killer bees were " contained" in the lab. Containment is about as effective having a no pee area in a swimming pool. I guess these people never saw Jurassic Park.


tsx500's picture

(2006) the subprime crisis is 'contained' ....

Wannabee's picture

My wife is a RN, CCRN. Says that MRSA is some NASTY stuff.

Louie the Dog's picture

Killer bees were " contained" in the lab. 

Huh? Killer bees came from a lab? 

I gotta stop reading the comments.

Jumbotron's picture

"Killer bees were " contained" in the lab. 

Huh? Killer bees came from a lab? 

I gotta stop reading the comments"


The Africanized honey bees in the Western Hemisphere are of mixed descent from 26 Tanganyikan queen bees of A. m. scutellata, accidentally released by a replacement bee-keeper in 1957 near Rio Claro, São Paulo, in the southeast of Brazil, from hives operated by biologist Warwick E. Kerr, who had interbred honey bees from Europe and southern Africa. Hives containing these particular queens were noted to be especially defensive. Kerr was attempting to breed a strain of bees that would produce more honey and be better adapted to tropical conditions (i.e., more productive) than the European subspecies of honey bee used in South America and southern North America.


More Honey.....mean More Money, honey !!

Fucking utopian scientists and crapitalists just....can't...leave...well...enough...ALONE !!!!

thisandthat's picture

Speaking of bees, Europe is now infested with asian giant hornets, of nat geo fame - several hives have been destroyed in Portugal, this year.

Jumbotron's picture

I saw a video of those things attacking a bee hive.  Amazing.  Some of those SOB's would just wait at the opening to the hive until a bee would come out and just snip its little head off.  Within minutes they had decimated an entire collection of hives.  Stunning.

I used to work for an entomologist in Mississippi during summer breaks in high school....late 70's-early 80's.  We would go out to various cotton plantations to check for what kind of pests were infesting the cotton during its life cycle and recommend what kind of poison, if any, to kill said pest.  I found in a crack in the soil the largest wasp/hornet thing I've ever seen...dead.  So I pick it up and carefully cupped it in my hand.  I had a reputation for always finding the first boll weevil of the season and all sorts of bugs this guy had never seen before.  So when he rolls up to pick me up out of this cotton field to go to the next one, I open my hand and ask..."What is this?"  I've never seen a guy (and he was 6'3" 280lbs) roll up a window so fast and turn white as a sheet.  I assured him it was dead and then he rolled down the window and told me it was a Cicada Killer.  Nasty creature.  Their stinger don't come out like bees when they stings and both the stinger and their jaws are strong enough to penetrate a cicada's exoskeleton....just like unzipping a tuna can.

I sprayed one I found building its nest at the base of a dead maple tree at my first house in the 90's.  Completely coated it with foam from a cannister that shot this shit 20' in distance.  I walked up to the mound of foam...and lo and behold...this thing crawled out....shook off the foam...groggily walked around for a minute....and then took off...flying away like a bullet.  This was an instant knock-down poison....and I lost him in the evening sky as he flew off.

I ran back to the house....LOL !!!!

Here's a look at this badass....

thisandthat's picture

Just about the same size, but you should be happy they weren't asian giant hornets, because those actually kill dozens each year, in Japan:

kareninca's picture

I tried to give you an up-arrow, Jumbotron, but it didn't work.

Thank you for the links and the info.

Jumbotron's picture

My pleasure.

As I said in a post above, I used to work for an entomologist long ago. Love insects...and am interested in the state of bees as my son is getting interested in starting his own hives.

Room 101's picture

Current state of bees: dismal.  Colony losses 30% on the low end, 50% on the high end.  Lots of exotic pests and diseases during the last 20 years.  My advice: have lots of hives.  You're going to lose some. 

Parrotile's picture

Much of the early work on producing a "calmer" African / European cross was performed initially on a lab. scale., so your implication that the comment is not correct is not supported by available evidence. Later field trials were performed "in the field" but you should be aware that even "in the field" trials are regarded (correctly) as an "outdoor laboratory" environment.

For example -, and

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Thanks Parrotile. Yes I was speaking in terms of general lab field trials. We consider field trials as " lab" trials because they are done under specific controlled conditions and protocols. I didn't mean to imply the bees escaped a laboratory. I should refrain from speaking in generalities to avoid confusion.


Parrotile's picture

Completely effective containment IS possible, but is expensive in terms of materials, equipment and staff training / selection (read - motivation!) I KNOW "good" containment works (if it didn't some of the organisms I was playing with (courtesy of the UK MOD) in the 1970's would have "VERY significantly reduced" the EU and maybe Global population if they had ever got into the wild!).

Containment failure is always due to personnel failure - we can design (and validate "on paper") good systems, but if the operators take short-cuts, the containment will eventually be breached. Happened with MRSA, VRE, happening with CRKP, happens every year in Australia with Norovirus - Nursing Home patients get it, then are admitted (always with another problem - not quite a misdiagnosis, but just enough off to not ring warning bells in ED), then it spreads throughout the Hospital unless we're VERY quick to notice and contain.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Absolutely Parrotile. It's ALWAYS the human element. This is why containment is ultimately futile. Our micro representative on our hospital infection control board is ready to throw in the towel. She succeeded convincing the physician staff to perform mandatory hand washing before each patient and internal monitoring has noted a great improvement. However they REFUSE to wash their hand again before they leave the room calling it unnecessary. So they are now bringing pathogens to the nursing station and charting on the computers and then going to the next patient. So if any nurse uses that computer they will be colonized by pathogens. We have lost the battle once again and idiocy rules the day.


prains's picture

Mother Nature always bats last.


she needs a bigger bat

Demonoid's picture

Absolutely, if you pay with three 1960 silver quarters.

The value of silver relative to the value of books (and a lot of other goods) has actually remained fairly constant.

Lore's picture

That's interesting about the bee seizure. I used to know a beekeeper who warned about this stuff 25 years ago. He also warned of the need to save your seeds. The psychopaths want to alter and control EVERYTHING.

Room 101's picture

The Illinois bee seizure story is bullshit.  His hives were seized because they were infected with American Foulbrood.  For the non-beekeepers out there, AFB is like bee anthrax.  Bar none, it is the most horrible disease you can get in a hive.  The cure: apply lighter fluid to the hive and strike a match.  Seriously.  It's bad stuff.   You have to kill the hive and burn the equipment to be rid of it. 

This guy was playing the martyr for all it was worth.

Beekeepers are some of the most skeptical folks you will find outside of ZH.  We have a siege mentality because we are under siege.  If you think for one moment that we wouldn't raise a shit-storm over a BS seizure, you're wrong.  This was a righteous seizure of diseased livestock that the owner wouldn't take care of.  

cro_maat's picture

Did you personally see his hives? Did you read the court transcripts? Because if you did you would know that the IL Ag enforcers destroyed the evidence before his trial.

Nice try though.

Room 101's picture

I'm not from Illinois, so of course not.  However there are a lot of beekeepers who have good reps who know of the facts, are from the area and who are familiar.  You see we beekeepers have this this fancy thing called the internet and we do communicate.  A lot.  When this came up last year, a lot of reputable people checked it out and the consensus was it was bullshit.  The guy had AFB, he wouldn't do the right thing, he was warned, and the state in the end had to do the right thing for him. 

As for the evidence being destroyed, of course it was.  AFB is horrible stuff.  They way you deal with it is burning the hive. 

Sorry.  Not everything in life is an eeeeeevil  conspiracy. This wasn't. 

tango's picture

I guess what you are saying is that any belief or opinion is automatically true (Monsanto klling humans, bees, pushing poisonous GMF, etc) but a case in which scientific evidence was presented and examined is to be dismissed.  What in the world is happening to folks today?  Has there been a complete loss of critical thinking?   

It's a Catch-22.  If the belief is proven wrong (as in this case) then it must be all part of the conspiracy, evidence had to have destroyed, documents changed, shadowy people are sneaking and changing computer data at night, etc. Do folks actually think millions of folks are waiting for their orders from the Mother Ship before starting that day's nefarious activities?

Lost Word's picture

The Government : Once a Liar, Always a Liar, Until you give me Proof otherwise.

Jumbotron's picture

"This is good.  The whole world should stop all imports of any US produced food until the US outlaws use of any GMOs!"

Better yet....try to find a list of industrial bread makers and other companies who buy GMO wheat for their bread and baked good stocks and boycott the shit out of those.  Call them out by name on the Web and every available blog.  Pass this list on to the media.

Make these guys squirm and stop buying from Monsanto and watch Monsanto start to squirm.

BigInJapan's picture

If you do that, and push people to short Monsanto stock at the same time, well boy, then you're making progress.

kito's picture

double fuck monsanto................................

Mine Is Bigger's picture

Sorry, but that's not enough.  When it comes to Monsanto, no punishment is severe enough!!!

Room 101's picture

Quadruple fuck them.  Lowlife bastards.  On the same rung as the squid or the morgue. 

The Gooch's picture

Fuck Monsanto.

In addition to all the cronies in D.C., Shannon Watts (founder of Million Moms For Gun Control) is also former Monsanto.

Director, Global Public and Corporate AffairsPublic Company; 10,001+ employees; MON; Biotechnology industry 2001– 2004 (3 years)Provided corporate communications strategy and support for Fortune 500 life sciences and agricultural company.



InTheLandOfTheBlind's picture

seems similar to lucifer's objective

Lord Koos's picture

This is a really big deal here in WA state, where wheat is a major export.  

Jumbotron's picture

"Grape vines and olive trees don't require pollination to fruit.  In the Middle East, a staple of their diet is (surprise) grapes (and its leaves), and olives.  Makes you wonder...connect the dots.

I am Chumbawamba."


The Book of Revelation......

Revelation Ch 6: verses 5-6..... 

When the Lamb broke the third seal, I heard the third living being say, "Come!" I looked up and saw a black horse, and its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand.  And I heard a voice from among the four living beings say, "A loaf of wheat bread or three loaves of barley will cost a day's pay. And don't waste the olive oil and wine."


Things that make you go....Hmmmmmm !?

SamAdams's picture

Concorde wine is Kosher ;-)

ParkAveFlasher's picture

Bananas don't require pollination either.  Bananas are also highly ranked amongst the world's most important crops.

bobola's picture

"Go bananas while you still can. The world's most popular fruit and the fourth most important food crop of any sort is in deep trouble. Its genetic base, the wild bananas and traditional varieties cultivated in India, has collapsed."

Yes, we will have no bananas.....

Jumbotron's picture

"Go bananas while you still can. The world's most popular fruit and the fourth most important food crop of any sort is in deep trouble. Its genetic base, the wild bananas and traditional varieties cultivated in India, has collapsed."

Our modern day banana is a GMO mutant (albeit by more traditional means of GM, cross pollination and traditional means of cloning) that taste like shit compared to the old world varities that don't have the "natural" shelf life and longetivity as the ones you bag up in the local supermarket. 

Even with this traditional way of GM, the outcome was still negative from a taste and nutrition just got better pest and disease resistance.

There are just some things that are best left in their native environment and should not be mass produced or genetically mucked around with just so every fucking person on the planet can buy one cheap just because they want it.

tango's picture

What few fathom is that without science (GM foods, pesticides, fertilizers, longevity traits, toughening, etc) we would literally starve to death.  The incredible industry needed to feed seven billion mouths does/will not come from Ma and Pa's backyard garden.  Organic farmers have long swore that their food is tastier but comes with a price (no pun intended) - less volume.  In the case of bananas, those picked from a tree are tastier (like a peach).  But to feed the world we trade a lowering of taste for quantity. 

We (ZH posters) are writing from a Western perspective (educated, abundant food, choice).  Asians, Africans and South Americans sing quite a different tune.  Having casabas that actually contain nutrients is far more beneficial than banning GM foods on Western shelves or weaving conspiracy theories about folks wanting to wipe out the Earth's population.