UPDATE: Rogue wheat imperils US exports

The recent discovery in the US of a Monsanto herbicide-resistant GM strain of wheat that was never approved by the agriculture department (USDA), has imperilled US wheat exports, The New York Times reported.

The European Commission has said it will test incoming shipments and block any containing that particular errant strain of GM wheat.

Meanwhile, Toru Hisadome, a Japanese farm ministry official in charge of wheat trading, told Reuters that Japan had opted to immediately cancel part of a tender offer to buy US Western White wheat, and had suspended imports of both that variety and feed wheat. Japan is the biggest buyer of US wheat after Mexico.

Hisadome said Japan had asked the US to provide more details about their investigation and said they would stop buying the suspended species of wheat until a test-kit was developed to identify genetically modified produce.

There is no US-approved test, although the USDA has said it is developing a “rapid test” kit.

The non-approved GM wheat created by Monsanto was discovered on a 32-hectare farm in Oregon in April. The strain was field-tested from 1998 to 2005, but never approved to be grown in the US.

The world trade in wheat is greater than for all other crops combined.

The US is the world’s biggest wheat exporter.

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