PORTLAND, OR (AP) — A genetically modified test strain of wheat that emerged to the surprise of an Oregon farmer last month was likely the result of an accident or deliberate mixing of seeds, the company that developed it said Wednesday.
Representatives for Monsanto Co. said during a conference call Wednesday that the emergence of the genetically modified strain was an isolated occurrence. It has tested the original wheat stock and found it clean, the company said.
Sabotage is a possibility, said Robb Fraley, Monsanto chief technology officer.
“We’re considering all options and that’s certainly one of the options,” Fraley said.
Fraley said the company has a test it has shared with other countries that could “fingerprint” the exact variety of wheat that carried the gene, and it’s awaiting samples from the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Oregon farmer to test for the exact variety that emerged.
The USDA has said the Oregon wheat is safe to eat and there is no evidence that modified wheat entered the marketplace. No genetically engineered wheat has been approved for U.S. farming.