Earlier this week it was disclosed that US authorities found a strain of genetically modified wheat in a field in Oregon. The find came as a surprise because GMO wheat has not been approved by US authorities or by authorities in other countries. Hence, there are reports of Japan and Korea halting US wheat imports and of the EU and others increasing inspections at the border. Meanwhile, Monsanto claims that the genetically modified wheat does not pose a risk to health and the NY Times article linked above suggests that this claim is backed by the US Department of Agriculture.
However, Monsanto has also stated that there is no reliable test to determine the presence of the gene in question. If this is the case, are heightened inspection procedures really an option, or are we likely to see import bans? If we do see the latter, will the US address the issue at the WTO even though the gene is not approved in its own territory? From a WTO law perspective, if there is no reliable means of knowing whether the GMO crop is in the food supply the central question concerns what scientific evidence exists concerning safety of the crop.