WRAPUP 1-US seeks source of errant gene altered wheat as importers flee

Fri May 31, 2013 2:31pm EDT
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* S.Korean imports on hold until test results next week

* Other Asian nations step up inspections

* U.S. says no evidence rogue grain has entered supply chain

* Aus supply would struggle to soak up extra demand

By Charles Abbott and Meeyoung Cho

WASHINGTON/SEOUL, May 31 (Reuters) - The United States is still racing to determine how unapproved genetically modified wheat was found growing in an Oregon field, a discovery that continued to roil global wheat markets on Friday as South Korean buyers stepped aside.

A top official with the U.S. Department of Agriculture said investigators are "pursuing many avenues" to determine how the wheat - which carries a gene making it resistant to herbicide applications - popped up in late April.

"At this point we have not ... eliminated any" potential causes, Bernadette Juarez, deputy director of the investigative unit with USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

South Korean millers suspended imports of U.S. wheat on Friday and some Asian countries increased inspections after the discovery of the unapproved wheat, but stopped short of imposing import bans.   Continued...