Japan cancels some US imports after Monsanto wheat found in Ore.


by KGW Staff


Posted on May 30, 2013 at 3:17 PM

TOKYO -- Japan has suspended certain wheat imports from the United States after a genetically-modified crop was found growing in an Oregon field.

Japan, the second-biggest importer of U.S. wheat behind Mexico, canceled some orders while the U.S. tries to figure how the illegal Monsanto wheat got to the Eastern Oregon farm.

Other top Asian importers, like South Korea, China and the Philippines are closely monitoring the situation. Many countries won't accept imports of genetically-modified foods.

The European Union announced it's preparing to test incoming wheat shipments after the discovery.

Roughly 90 percent of Oregon wheat is shipped overseas, generating a half-billion dollars in revenue every year, said Oregon Dept. of Agriculture Director Katy Coba.

“There is not a food safety issue. There is not a human health issue,” Coba said. “We believe have very good high quality wheat, otherwise we would not be in these markets in the first place. And we want to work with the markets and we want to make sure we can maintain that access for our product."

One market analyst told KGW Japan's suspension of wheat imports will be short-lived. He said if the USDA can establish that it was an isolated incident, the imports will resume within a few weeks.

Meanwhile wheat growers also hope that’s the case and that the growth is not widespread.


KGW Reporter Kyle Iboshi contributed to this report.