USDA tests grain, probes storage site in GMO wheat mystery
Claire Cajacob, head of Monsanto's wheat project, said it is routine for Monsanto to store experimental seed both at its own facilities and at the government location.
The national center is designed to preserve a collection of genetic resources for U.S. agriculture and includes a small catalog of genetically altered and patented seed material from companies like Monsanto, as well as a wider selection of publicly available materials.
Officials with the center said Thursday they were uncertain whether or not they had ever received the experimental wheat in question, and the USDA's Curlett said how much, if any, seed was sent there, and if it was all accounted for, was one part of the government's investigation.
As the probe continues, some foreign buyers continue to shy away from the western white wheat variety grown in Oregon and other states. This week marked the fourth in a row that Japan's Ministry of Agriculture avoided the U.S. western white grade in a regular weekly wheat purchase.
Japan was one of first nations to shun U.S. white wheat imports after the May 29 USDA announcement of the discovery of the genetically engineered wheat.
USDA maintains that there is no evidence that any biotech wheat has entered commercial supplies.