The global market for wheat shut down temporarily late May after the discovery of a genetically engineered form of the crop was discovered on a 123-acre field in Oregon. The biotech wheat was developed years ago but was not approved for farming anywhere in the world after complaints from around the globe about the likelihood of genetically altered wheat.
U.S. Wheat Industry Welcomes Resumption of All Japanese Wheat Purchases
U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) are pleased that Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) will resume tenders this week for new purchases of U.S. Western White and soft white wheat. MAFF had suspended new purchases of Western White following the announcement in late May by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) that volunteer wheat plants with an unapproved genetically modified (GM) trait had been discovered in a single field in Oregon.
The announcement from Japan comes as a result of a thorough, science-based review by MAFF of the ongoing APHIS investigation, as well as a sustained effort by the wheat industry, USDA and many others to provide the information MAFF needed to buy U.S. Western White and soft white wheat again. APHIS and MAFF have now tested hundreds of samples of U.S. wheat and found no evidence of any GM material in commercial supplies, which reaffirms the USDA conclusion that this was a limited, isolated incident.
Wheat farmers and their representatives at USW, NAWG and other organizations strongly value the positive relationships we have with our customers at home and around the world. For our organizations and those wheat farmers, the grower leaders of USW and NAWG express our appreciation to MAFF and all our customers for their reasoned response to this situation and for their continued steadfast support.
USW is the industry’s market development organization working in more than 100 countries. Its mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers.” The activities of USW are made possible by producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and through cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit www.uswheat.org or contact your state wheat commission.