July 31, 2013


Japan to remove ban on US wheat imports



Japan will resume tenders for the importation of US western-white wheat and soft-white wheat for livestock feed on August 1 and 7, respectively, after both types of wheat, which are grown in Oregon, US, were previously discovered to be of genetically modified (GM) breeds developed by Monsanto.

Japan's farm minister, Yoshimasa Hayashi, said that the ban will be lifted on July 25, with a condition that all incoming US wheat be tested.

This ends a two-month suspension that came after genetically engineered crops were found on an Oregon farm. The suspension on some imports of US wheat was imposed in May as Japan cancelled a bid for 25,000 tonnes of western white, a soft white wheat produced in the Pacific Northwest. Japan imports about 800,000 tonnes of the wheat yearly, but does not allow genetically-modified types.


In all, Japan imports around five million tonnes of wheat a year, 60% of which is from the US, making it one of the largest importers of the crop.


The suspension came as South Korea followed suit while the EU called for member states to test imports from the area, stating that any genetically modified wheat will not be sold to consumers.


The USDA initially announced the discovery of the modified wheat. According to the organisation, it was the same breed as a genetically modified, herbicide-resistant wheat tested by Monsanto between 1998 and 2005, but was never approved.

No genetically engineered wheat has been approved in the US for commercial production.

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