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Japan Blocks US Wheat After Unauthorized Monsanto GMO Strain Found in Oregon

(Photo: USDA)

(Photo: USDA)

Japan blocked the import of some types of American wheat on Thursday following the discovery of an unauthorized strain of genetically modified Monsanto wheat growing on an Oregon farm.

Agence France-Presse reports that Japan’s farm ministry cancelled a bid for 25,000 tons of Western White wheat, a soft white wheat grown in the northwestern US.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the discovery of the unapproved genetically modified Monsanto wheat on Wednesday. The pesticide-resistant strain, which was tested in a dozen states from 1994 to 2005, was found in an 80-acre field in Oregon. The strain has never been approved for commercial use.

“We have no choice but to avoid bidding for the product,” an official from the Japanese farm ministry declared on Thursday.

“We are asking US authorities to disclose information related to the incident as quickly as possible,” the official added.

Other types of American wheat have not been subjected to the ban.

The Associated Press reports that the European Union (EU) is urging member states to test some wheat shipments from the United States in the wake of the alarming discovery.

“[The EU] is following carefully the presence of this non-authorized GM wheat in Oregon in order to ensure that European consumers are protected from any unauthorized GM presence and make sure the EU zero tolerance for such GM events is implemented,” the EU consumer protection office said in a statement.

The EU imports more than a million tons of American wheat annually. European consumers are much more GMO-averse than their US counterparts, and unlike the US, where efforts to label genetically modified foods have almost always failed, in large part due to the massive political influence and spending power of the corporate agriculture lobby, GM labeling is the law of the land throughout Europe.

The majority of soft white wheat exported from the United States to the EU goes to Spain.

While the corporations which produce GM wheat claim their product is safe, an assessment shared by the US government, critics point to scientific studies showing that GM wheat under trial in Australia could possibly trigger a deadly liver disease.

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3 Comments

  1. wildMay 31, 2013 at 8:07 pmReply

    This is the best news I’ve heard in a long time.

    Because the public is generally ignored, in these United States of Pet Owners, The ‘best’ commodity bidders like Japan, and perhaps others in the EU, are willing to halt by law, irresponsible commodity deals like Genetically Modified Organisms(crops).

    I think this story says a lot about the new direction of an established USA mission: ‘feeding the world’. This Japanese ‘arrow of disapproval’ against importing GMO food, reveals the heart of the dishonourable neoconservative logic: ‘thru destruction will new growth arise’, and from that logic, the chaotic excuses arise.

    It was the same Japanese keen arrow that demanded 10 years ago, testing each & every cattle carcass imported to their country before processing for food. Because of the mad cow disease that is still relevant to this day. (even if the USA does not test for the disease for domestic markets)

    The vast spectrum of questionable product that the USA is now fully immersed in producing and exporting, has systematically become less valuable, this is the intentional result of the neoconservative direction of destruction & law that supports the direction.

    The funny side-show to this is the neoconservative style commodity trading (legalized fraud… that typically headlines as: ‘business is booming’}, as they intentionally gain & manipulate prices beyond actual value. At least that has been the trend before 2007, thru the $700 billion swindle of 2008, and to this very day. I like the Washington Post-Steven Mufson referenced/linked in this article that further explained the side-show as: “The report rattled U.S. wheat markets.”

    ~~~ made me laugh out loud~~~ I imagining some of those commodity brokers getting caught once again with an over-valued share, of contaminated product.

    So just for fun I checked out another related article by Washington Post-Steven Mufson ” and it stated on page 2: “Mitsch said there would be no financial impact of this week’s flap on Monsanto because it isn’t selling any genetically modified wheat, but a prolonged suspension of wheat purchases by major trade partners could prompt farmers and trading firms to seek restitution from Monsanto.”
    Monsanto shares fall as South Korea joins pause in wheat imports” ….which is a kind of contradictory thing to say in light of the last 3 weeks Wheat futures price tumble: http://www.investing.com/news/commodities-news/wheat-futures-tumble-to-3-week-low-as-selloff-continues-231734

    wild;)

    • Brett WilkinsJune 3, 2013 at 9:14 amReplyAuthor

      Sounds like you know way more about this subject than I do, wild… thanks for the incisive commentary!

  2. wildMay 31, 2013 at 8:13 pmReply

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/monsanto-shares-fall-as-south-korea-joins-pause-in-wheat-imports/2013/05/31/5df79a3a-ca2c-11e2-8da7-d274bc611a47_story.html

    There is the WP-Steven Mufson related article hyperlink, I forgot to make the link in my original post.

    wild;)

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