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Japan, Korea block U.S. wheat import, EU orders testing

Staff writer ▼ | May 31, 2013
The European Union advised member states to test wheat shipments from the United States, and South Korea joined Japan in suspending U.S. wheat imports over GMO concerns.
Wheat
WheatThe European Union advised member states to test wheat shipments from the United States, and South Korea joined Japan in suspending U.S. wheat imports over GMO concerns.


Those actions came after the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported finding GMO wheat on a farm in Oregon. How the altered crop made its way to the Oregon field is not ye known. Monsanto had field-tested such wheat in 16 states, including Oregon, from 1998 through 2005, but dropped the project over concerns that it would endanger wheat exports.

The E.U. consumer protection office said that it was "following carefully the presence of this non-authorized GM [genetically modified] wheat in Oregon in order to ensure that European consumers are protected from any unauthorized GM presence and make sure that the E.U. zero tolerance for such GM events is implemented."

Members of the European Union imports more than 1.1 million tons of wheat every year year from the United States, 80 percent of which is soft white white, the Associated Press reported.

At the same time Asian countries are stepping up inspections of U.S. wheat. South Korean companies will suspend imports waiting for the results of government tests to determine whether shipments contain the genetically modified strain developed by Monsanto.

Japan, which imports more U.S. wheat than nearly any other nation, has canceled orders for 25,000 tonnes of Western White from the U.S. Pacific northwest over GMO fears. "As long as the situation remains unchanged, we have no choice but to avoid bidding for the product. We are asking US authorities to disclose information related to the incident as quickly as possible," said the official.

Analysts estimate that more than 70 percent of processed foods in the U.S. contain ingredients from genetically engineered crops.


 

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