PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon agriculture officials say the state has no authority over genetically modified crops once they are deemed safe for commercial use by federal regulators.

In a letter to Governor John Kitzhaber, the Oregon Department of Agriculture says state law allows it to create control areas to deal with pests and disease. But it can create such areas only for GE crops that are in the trial phase.

Officials say once a GE crop has been "deregulated" by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it's deemed not to be a pest or a disease carrier — hence the state loses authority over the GE crop.