Konrad Roeder's picture
We've been told time and time again by various biotech companies that GM crops can be contained to a specific area. How is it that more and more fields of heirloom Maize in Mexico have been contaminated with GMO corn? What are you doing to combat GMO contamination of Organic fields or is GMO contamination just inevitable? Is it inevitable that unapproved GMOs end up in our food supply? Is this why Monsanto blames anti-GMO activists for their unexplained GMO contamination of a wheat field in Oregon?

A:Expert Answer

I’m not aware of the situation you reference in your first question. But I do know that cross-pollination between commercial hybrids and native varieties has occurred since the advent of commercial hybrids and is a natural process. Mexican growers have improved native varieties by selecting traits best suited to their production requirements, including traits introduced through commercial maize hybrids. However, native seed varieties also are preserved and stored both internationally and at the U.S. Department of Agriculture seed banks. DuPont Pioneer helps fund the international germplasm bank.


We’re not aware that organic certification has ever been revoked due to the inadvertent presence of GM material in an organic crop. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as long as an organic grower has not intentionally planted GM seed and has taken reasonable steps to avoid contact with GM pollen or seed, the detection of a low level of GM material in a crop does not constitute a violation of National Organic Program standards. And, DuPont Pioneer has never sued a farmer because of the inadvertent presence of patented biotech traits in a farmer’s field and we’re not aware any other company has either. For the perspective of an organic farmer on this issue, read this response from Don Cameron to a similar question.


The issue of pollen flow has been important to seed companies and scientists for years.  Because corn is an open pollinating plant, it is important to our business to understand how far pollen travels and under what conditions. This knowledge translates into best management practices, such as planting at recommended separation distances or timing the planting so that pollination of the two fields occurs at different times.


Regarding the finding of GM wheat in a field in Oregon, read this response for additional information.


NeedsTheTruth's picture

did u forget about the GMO wheat incident?

Konrad Roeder's picture

Biotech giant Monsanto says that its unapproved experimental wheat ended up growing at an Oregon field through what most likely was an isolated act of sabotage.

"What happened in this field... is suspicious," said Monsanto Chief Technology Officer Robb Fraley on Friday, reporting on the ongoing investigation into the scandal.

In late May, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the discovery of bioengineered wheat, which had been made resistant to Roundup, a Monsanto-sold pesticide. The plant was developed by Monsanto between 1998 and 2005, but was never approved and made into a commercial product.

The company has thus far FAILED to determine how the crop entered the environment, and insisted that all genetically modified seeds were incinerated after testing.


Konrad Roeder's picture

Nope. I did not forget about the GMO wheat incident in Oregon where Monsanto wants us to believe that five years after all the remaining seeds from their GMO wheat experiments were supposedly burned, "saboteurs" picked an 80-acre field in Oregon to plant a bunch of MON 71800 GMO wheat that was denied approval for sale that ONLY Monsanto could have possibly have had access. I suppose the ag industry would rather forget about the incident.