Sen. Wyden warns gene-altered wheat could become trade problem

Reuters News
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Posted: May 31, 2013 2:35 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Agriculture Department must work with other agencies to ensure that the discovery of unapproved genetically engineered wheat in Oregon does not become an unfair barrier to trade, one of the state's U.S. Senators said on Friday.

"The discovery of non-harvested, GE (genetically engineered) wheat should not be used by America's trading partners to erect spurious, protectionist trade barriers ... in the absence of scientific evidence indicating that Oregon exports contain this strain of wheat," Sen. Roy Wyden, a Democrat, wrote to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.

USDA could "co-ordinate closely" with the U.S. Trade Representative and the Department of State, among others, to "provide assurance and certainly to global wheat markets," Wyden said.

(Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)