Japan stops importing wheat due to GMO variety found on Oregon farmadmin September 16, 2019 0 COMMENTS
WASHINGTON — Japan has suspended some imports of U.S. wheat after genetically engineered wheat was found on an Oregon farm.The Agriculture Department announced the discovery of the modified wheat on Wednesday. No genetically engineered wheat has been approved for U.S. farming.Japan is one of the largest export markets for U.S. wheat growers. Katsuhiro Saka, a counselor at the Japanese Embassy in Washington, said Thursday that Japan had canceled orders of western white wheat from the Pacific Northwest and also of some feed-grade wheat. He said the country was waiting for more information from the Agriculture Department as it investigates the discovery.“In most countries the unapproved genetically modified wheat would be a target of concern,” Saka said. “The Japanese people have similar kinds of concerns.”USDA officials said the wheat was the same strain as a genetically modified wheat that was designed to be herbicide-resistant and was legally tested by seed giant Monsanto a decade ago but never approved. Monsanto stopped testing that product in Oregon and several other states in 2005.The Agriculture Department said the genetically engineered wheat is safe to eat and there is no evidence that modified wheat entered the marketplace. But the department is investigating how it ended up in the field, whether there was any criminal wrongdoing and whether its growth is widespread.The mystery could have implications on the wheat trade in the U.S. and abroad, as evidenced by Japan’s suspension of imports on Thursday.