Canadian GM wheat saga update: Japan resumes imports

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Japan has removed the ban on exports of Canadian wheat. Pic: ©iStock/Zoran Zeremski
Japan has removed the ban on exports of Canadian wheat. Pic: ©iStock/Zoran Zeremski

Related tags: Canada, non-GMO, Japan, Wheat, Exports, Cereals

Japan’s agricultural ministry has lifted its ban on imports of Canadian wheat, after trade was suspended in June following the discovery of GM wheat plants in southern Alberta.

The country’s second-largest buyer of wheat announced it would resume commercial shipments after thorough scientific testing.

Both Canadian and Japanese officials confirmed the unauthorized wheat is not present in the food or animal feed system, or anywhere other than the isolated site where it was discovered.

Lawrence MacAulay, minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and Jim Carr, minister of International Trade Diversification, said: “The Government of Canada welcomes the decision by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture to lift the temporary suspension on imports of Canadian wheat, following its own thorough scientific testing of Canadian wheat shipments.”

Cereals Canada president Cam Dahl also expressed appreciation for the effort that the Japanese government put into resolving the issue as quickly as possible.

Single unified industry message

“Cereals Canada wishes to recognize the united way in which the Canadian value chain has approached finding a resolution to the concerns that had caused Japan to temporarily close its borders to Canadian wheat,” ​he said.

“Almost all organizations and companies have come together to present a unified single Canadian industry message. As a united industry we are able to work with the government and our customers to help maintain our reputation as a reliable supplier.”

South Korea also closed its border to Canadian wheat in June following Japan’s ban,​ but resumed trade about a week later.

According to the Canadian government, Canadian wheat production in 2017 was 30 million tons across an area of 22 million acres, making it one of the largest field crops in Canada. Canadian exports of wheat globally are valued at approximately CA$6.6bn (US$5.02m) annually.

Related topics: Health, Ingredients, Milling & Grains, Markets

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