A strain of genetically engineered wheat never approved for sale or consumption was found sprouting on a farm in Oregon, the U.S. government said on Wednesday, and grain traders warned the discovery could hurt export prospects for U.S. wheat.
USDA reported the discovery of a wheat variety developed years ago by biotechnology giant Monsanto Co. to be resistant to its Roundup herbicide. It was never put into use because of worldwide opposition to genetically engineered wheat.
USDA officials said there was no sign that genetically engineered wheat had entered the commercial market.
Wheat, long known as the staff of life, is a dietary staple used in making breads, pastries, cookies, breakfast cereal, noodles and other foods. Half of the U.S. crop is exported. Major buyers include Europe, Mexico, Japan, Egypt, Nigeria, the Philippines and South Korea.
USDA officials said the FDA determined years ago there is no health risk to humans from the strain. Monsanto’s last field tests on GE wheat were in 2005.