Alfalfa tested for GM Contamination

A sample from a hay producer who did not plant Round-Up Ready Alfalfa tested positive for geneticallly modified traits.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) announced last week that sample of alfalfa from field in eastern Washington tested positive for low level presences for genetically modified (GM) pesticide resistance trait, Round-Up Ready.  

The grower brought seed and plant samples to the WSDA lab after a broker rejected the alfalfa intended for export that contained evidence of GM traits. The grower did not intentionally plant Roundup-Ready Alfalfa-approved by the U.S. department of agriculture in 2011- and he was under the impression at the time of sale. It is unknown if the seed was mislabeled.

In a statement, Forage Genetics, a major alfalfa seed company that sells GM alfalfa seed, said that genetic modification is permissible in conventional alfalfa seed.

“Varietal purity standards allow low-level presence of impurities, including (genetically modified) traits, in conventional alfalfa seed,” spokeswoman Rebecca Lentz said in a statement. “The potential presence of impurities is clearly stated on the label. If growers are growing alfalfa for sensitive markets and want to purchase seed with non-detectable presence of GM traits, such seed is available in the marketplace.”

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