Genetically engineered wheat found in Oregon field

May 30, 2013 at 2:37 PM
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EUGENE, Ore., May 30 (UPI) -- The discovery of what appears to be genetically engineered wheat on a farm in eastern Oregon could threaten the state's exports, officials say.

A farmer in eastern Oregon made the find when he sprayed a field with the weed-killer glyphosate to prepare it for spring planting, The (Portland) Oregonian reported Wednesday. The farmer discovered some wheat survived the spraying, suggesting it was genetically engineered to be resistant to glyphosate.

Monsanto Co. markets glyphosate under the name Roundup and sells genetically engineered seed advertised as Roundup-ready.

Much of Oregon's wheat crop is exported to East Asia to be used for noodles and crackers, but state Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba said many countries will not accept genetically engineered crops.

"Clearly there's a concern about market reaction," Coba said. "Japan and Korea jump out. They do not want genetically engineered food, they do not want genetically engineered wheat. They could shut off the market to us."

She said the wheat industry might have to pay to have exports tested.

Mike Firko -- assistant director of Biological and Technical Services for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service -- said no other genetically engineered wheat has been found so far.

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