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USDA adds more investigators to Ore. GMO wheat probe


The U.S. Department of Agriculture has increased the number of investigators and field staff looking into the genetically-modified wheat found on Oregon farm.

There are now 15 people on the ground in the Northwest—up from nine last week.

In about a month, Northwest wheat farmers will rev up their tractors for harvest. That means USDA investigators have a limited time to figure out how the genetically-modified wheat sprouted up.

USDA officials said the RoundUp-resistant wheat is the same strain as a genetically modified wheat that was tested by seed giant Monsanto a decade ago but never approved. Monsanto stopped testing that product in Oregon and several other states in 2005.

The USDA said the genetically-engineered wheat is safe to eat, but it is investigating how it ended up in the field. Officials would not comment on how it may have gotten there.

So far Japan, Taiwan and South Korea have delayed soft white wheat shipments due to concerns about the grain. The United States exports about half of its wheat product.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.
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