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USDA investigating GMO wheat

USDA investigating GMO wheat

The wheat is resistant to glyphosate, the USDA said

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investigating a case of genetically modified wheat discovered in Washington State.

On Friday, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of the crop in an unplanted field. The variety is resistant to glyphosate and there’s no evidence that the grain has entered the food supply.

No GMO varieties of wheat are available for purchase in the U.S. and APHIS hasn’t deregulated any genetically engineered wheat varieties at this time.

The wheat in question could be from a field trial site.

“We have been informed by USDA of a possible detection of GM wheat in Washington State, possibly on the site of a former field trial,” Charla Lord, a spokeswoman with Bayer Crop Sciences, told Reuters on Friday. “We are cooperating with USDA to gather more information and facts as the agency reviews the situation.”

Grain groups are confident the investigation is in good hands.

The USDA is well equipped to find the necessary answers, the U.S. Wheat Associates and National Association of Wheat Growers said.

“We appreciate that USDA is collaborating with our organizations and our state, industry and trading partners to provide timely and transparent information about their findings as they investigate this discovery,” the groups said in a joint statement Friday.

It’s unclear whether the USDA’s findings will have any effect on market prices because of other news items.

“This kind of thing could slow down exports but I think it’s just a one-off,” Moe Agostino, chief commodity strategist with Risk Management, told Monday. “We’ve got a WASDE report coming tomorrow and I think markets are more concerned with that and how the planting season is going.” has reached out to the Washington Association of Wheat Growers for comment.

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