As fears of ‘rogue’ GMO wheat ease, Japan lifts ban on Canadian imports

gmo wheat
Image: NFU

One day [in] July [2017], a contractor noticed a few stalks of wheat growing by the side of an access road in southern Alberta survived being sprayed with Roundup, a powerful herbicide. By virtue of their hardiness they soon ended up in a government lab, and eventually led the Japanese government to impose a sweeping ban on the import of Canadian wheat, one it finally lifted on [July 20th]. But even as farmers celebrate the news, the rogue wheat’s resilience has created a lingering agricultural mystery, one for which no solution is in sight.

Each year, Japan imports between 1.5 and 1.7 million tonnes of Canadian wheat, said Cam Dahl, president of agriculture industry non-profit Cereals Canada Inc. With Indonesia, Japan vies for the title of second-largest importer of Canadian wheat, after the U.S. And the Japanese, Dahl said, “are premium buyers, so they buy the highest quality of any customer.”

Related article:  'Food Evolution' movie could mark turning point in public GMO discussion

According to Dahl, Japan tested hundreds of thousands of tonnes of Canadian wheat already in the country for any sign of genetic modification. Among Canadian producers, there were concerns that some shipments already en route to the country would have to divert when the ban was announced, but Dahl said they were allowed to unload, and then were tested while in storage. Those tests found none of the genetically modified wheat, and so on [July 20th] Japan lifted its ban, though it will continue to test imported Canadian wheat for modification.

Read full, original article: Japan drops ban on Canadian wheat, but mystery over genetically modified samples lingers

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