WASHINGTON (B)--The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced June 21 that it plans to raise its quality standards for the U.S. wheat it purchases for its export donation program, according to prepared testimony that Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman delivered June 21 to the House Agriculture Committee.

"This tells the world that U.S. wheat meets a higher standard," Glickman said.

He said that USDA began to immediately decrease "the acceptable maximum dockage levels" in wheat purchased by USDA "to improve cleanliness and competitiveness of U.S. wheat."

Glickman also said he will soon seek public comment on whether the United States should raise standards for all exported wheat.

"Cleaner exports will help create greater demand for U.S. wheat and help U.S. wheat suppliers peak internationally," he said.

Food aid programs last year included more than 5 million tonnes of U.S. wheat.

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