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Canadian GM wheat saga: South Korea suspends trade

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Canadian officials are working hard to restore trade with Japan and South Korea following discovery of unapproved GM wheat. Pic: ©fotokostic
Canadian officials are working hard to restore trade with Japan and South Korea following discovery of unapproved GM wheat. Pic: ©fotokostic
South Korea has joined Japan in banning imports of Canadian wheat following the discovery of unapproved genetically modified (GM) plants in southern Alberta.

Earlier this month, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced the discovery of a small number of GM wheat plants in Canada.

According to Cereals Canada, Japan is one of the top importers of Canadian wheat – at around 1.5 million tons per annum – and is prepared to pay premium prices for the highest-quality grain. South Korea imports around 235,000 tons a year.

There have been no indications so far that other countries will make a similar move.

In 2013, several Asian countries temporarily banned US wheat imports after GM wheat was found in Oregon.

Following a visit by Japanese officials to discuss the discovery and study Canadian testing protocols, Canadian leaders are hoping for a quick reopening of Japanese and South Korean wheat markets.

Cereals Canada president Cam Dahl said he believes the country has effectively answered all Japanese questions and shown that no GM wheat has entered the grain handling system.

 “It’s a really good testament that the focus of the last 10 days from both government and as well the entire value chain is really answering the questions our customers have in order to keep markets open, and then in the case of Japan and Korea to ensure those markets open up again as quickly as possible,”​ he said.

Related topics: Ingredients, Milling & Grains, Markets

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