“News that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is investigating the occurrence of genetically engineered wheat at an Oregon farm earlier this year is a serious matter that I know will raise concerns and a host of questions.
“The situation is currently being investigated by the USDA, which regulates the development, sale and planting of genetically engineered seeds. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has assured us that it has placed a high priority on getting answers to questions raised by discovery of the genetically engineered wheat.
“Wheat growers play a significant role in the economy of our state and region, and I expect the federal government to do its utmost to safeguard our state’s crops. We need to assure our trading partners that Northwest wheat remains a premium crop.
“The USDA has assured us there is no public health risk since the strain of wheat identified in this case was previously assessed by the Food and Drug Administration and deemed safe for human consumption, though it was never cultivated commercially.
“But it is critical that we find out how this situation occurred. It is essential that the federal government have in place regulations and protocols that are vigorous, effective and help us maintain our position as a leading exporter of wheat. The state Department of Agriculture will maintain regular communication with the USDA as the investigation proceeds, and we are all hopeful that answers will be available quickly.”