The discovery of genetically-modified wheat in an Eastern Oregon field has touched off a debate on the economics and safety of altering crop genetics.

The discovery of genetically-modified wheat in an Eastern Oregon field has touched off a debate on the economics and safety of altering crop genetics.

Critics of genetic modification point to a study that estimates the wheat industry stands to lose $94 to $272 million annually if genetically-modified wheat is introduced.

The USDA announced the discovery of the Monsanto-owned strain on Wednesday. It led to Japan postponing a 25,000-ton order from a Portland grain shipper.

The Oregonian reports ( http://bit.ly/Zl1bKV) unapproved genetically-modified rice found in a 2006 U.S. harvest led to plunging rice prices and payments from the offending company to American farmers.

Center for Food Safety attorney George Kimbrell says Monsanto may be liable for damages if Oregon wheat growers or shippers lose sales.