USDA will take no action in regards to the genetically modified alfalfa that was discovered in Washington state hay rejected for export in August. The government agency said its management should be left to the marketplace.

Because the Roundup Ready genetic trait has been deregulated in the U.S., it is not subject to Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service oversight, USDA said in a statement.

“Presence of approved GE (genetically engineered) traits in a non-GE crop is a commercial issue and the agriculture industry has approaches to minimize their occurrence and manage them when they occur,” the statement read.

The incident arose after an eastern Washington farmer’s alfalfa was rejected for export when a hay broker detected a genetically modified trait. The farmer thought the crop was conventional. The seed he purchased may have been mislabeled, a Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) official said earlier this month.

WSDA tested the hay and determined the alfalfa seed contained low levels of the Roundup Ready trait. Its testing did not specify the percentage of the trait, which was developed by Forage Genetics International for Monsanto Co.

WSDA has not received any other reports of farmers unintentionally planting alfalfa with trangenic traits, according to spokesman Mike Louisell.



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