USDA Says No Sign Rogue Wheat Has Spread Beyond Oregon

Genetically altered Monsanto Co. wheat found in an Oregon field in April hasn’t been found on any other farms or in commerce, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

The department has interviewed the farmer who owns the field as well as the vendor who sold the seed and is continuing interviews with about 200 area growers, the USDA said today in a statement. Monsanto said last week its investigation is pointing toward an isolated occurrence.

“As of today, USDA has neither found nor been informed of anything that would indicate that this incident amounts to more than a single isolated incident in a single field on a single farm,” the department said in updating its investigation into the source of the rouge wheat.

The wheat showed up in Oregon eight years after St. Louis-based Monsanto ended field tests. It was found growing on about 1 percent of the farmer’s 125-acre (51-hectare) field, and he submitted it to Oregon State University for testing after an application of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide didn’t kill it.

Since it was announced May 29, Japan, Korea and Taiwan postponed imports of U.S. white wheat as they study what further action may be required, while Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company, is facing several lawsuits over the market impact of potential contamination.

Wheat futures, which entered a bear market in January because of rising global supplies, have fallen 2 percent since the May 29 announcement of the Oregon contamination, closing at $6.8875 a bushel today in Chicago.

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