Unapproved GM wheat was recently found being grown in an Oregon field. This wheat posed a threat to trade with countries currently concerned about GMOs. Although the Agriculture Department came out with the statement that GM wheat is safe to consume and there is no evidence of the GM wheat entering the marketplace, the department is still skeptical about where the GM wheat came from. It is possible that the Oregon field was contaminated through wind pollination and that the farmers replanting the crop were unaware of the presence of GMOs. However, criminal wrongdoing is also being investigated.
As of now, the FDA has not approved genetically engineered wheat for U.S. farming. The wheat found in the Oregon field was of the same strain that was tested about a decade ago by Monsanto but never approved. The testing of the GM wheat was stopped in Oregon and several other states in 2005. Since Oregon exports approximately 90% of its wheat, this could be a potentially large problem. USDA officials have confirmed that no other incidences of GM wheat have been found.
This example of wheat contamination shows clearly that cross contamination cannot likely be completely controlled or avoided. Whether investigation determines improper conduct occurred, avoiding cross contamination of GMOs may be as impossible as guaranteeing a nuclear power plant near an earthquake fault will not have a meltdown. I do not think this comparison is extreme as the quality of one’s health is in question in both instances and human error must always be factored in.