GM Wheat: Latest Information - Export Markets
From U.S. Wheat Associates
U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers is aware that the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries (MAFF) has temporarily suspended tenders specifically for soft white wheat from the United States because of the recent announcement from USDA that an unauthorized Roundup Ready GM trait was detected in volunteer wheat on a single farm in Oregon.
MAFF did not, as has been reported, cancel a contract for 25,000 metric tons of U.S. wheat, nor has it suspended or restricted all U.S. wheat imports as some reports claim.
MAFF did purchase U.S. hard red spring wheat and hard red winter wheat in its regular tender last week and again this week.
Our organizations are also aware that private wheat buyers in Korea have temporarily suspended purchases of U.S. soft white wheat, pending official decisions from Korea's Ministry of Food & Drug Safety (MFDS). MFDS did announce yesterday that it had collected and tested 40 samples of wheat and 5 samples of flour milled from wheat that had been shipped/imported from Oregon, and that all tests showed that no unapproved recombinant wheat has been identified to date. Unlike Japan's MAFF, Korea's private buyers do not issue tenders on a set schedule.
Taiwan's private wheat buyers also issue irregular tenders and have not said officially that they have suspended U.S. wheat imports of any class. They have said that, for the time being, they would not purchase soft white wheat originating from Oregon.
The European Commission has recommended to its member states that they should test U.S. soft white wheat to be imported. We cannot actually say if any EU member state has or has not tested any wheat, nor can we confirm if any country there has postponed any purchases of U.S. wheat because their purchases are not made on a set schedule. We do know specifically that EU nations have imported only a very small number of container loads of soft white wheat over the past several years...and almost never import U.S. wheat from ports in the Pacific Northwest.
USDA made it clear that there is no evidence suggesting that this material has entered commercial supplies and that there is no health risk associated with it.
However, nothing is more important than the trust we've earned with our customers at home and around the world by providing a reliable supply of high-quality wheat. These are valued customers of the American wheat industry. We are cooperating with authorities in the United States and in countries that buy our wheat to understand the facts surrounding this incident. We have been working closely with our customers to help them make informed decisions about wheat imports as the U.S. government shares more facts about this situation from their investigation.