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Farmer Discovers Unapproved Genetically Modified Wheat in Field

From VOA Learning English, this is the Agriculture Report. Some countries have suspended imports of wheat from the United States. The suspensions were announced after an unapproved form of wheat was found in the state of Oregon. The crop was genetically engineered.

An Oregon farmer recently discovered wheat in his field that survived the popular weed killer Roundup. Roundup is made by the seed and chemical company Monsato to destroy unwanted plants. The company has created genetically engineered corn, cotton, soybean and canola crops that resist Roundup. Monsanto field-tested Roundup-resistant wheat. But it never sold the seeds.

Michael Firko is with the United States Department of Agriculture. He says the wheat passed safety inspections. Monsanto ended its wheat project because buyers in Europe and Asia were concerned about the safety of genetically engineered crops. The discovery of unapproved wheat in Oregon led Japan and South Korea to temporarily suspend some imports.

The United States is the world's largest wheat exporter. But American agriculture has difficulty competing against other countries because production costs are higher in the United States. Mark Welch is an agricultural economist at Texas A&M University. He says the incident could affect America's place in the world market. United States officials are working to identify the source of the genetically engineered wheat. There is no evidence yet that it has entered the food supply. The Department of Agriculture is working to make tests available to wheat buyers.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Laurel Bowman.