BUSINESS
06/15/2018 10:37 EDT | Updated 06/15/2018 10:42 EDT

Japan Halts Sale Of Canadian Wheat After Unapproved Monsanto Strain Found

A weed killer-resistant strain of wheat, not approved for sale in Canada, was found in Alberta.

A worker carries an air filter during wheat harvest on a farm near Fort MacLeod, Alta., Sept. 26, 2011. Japan's government says it has halted sales of Canadian wheat after some unauthorized genetically modified wheat was discovered in southern Alberta.
Todd Korol / Reuters
A worker carries an air filter during wheat harvest on a farm near Fort MacLeod, Alta., Sept. 26, 2011. Japan's government says it has halted sales of Canadian wheat after some unauthorized genetically modified wheat was discovered in southern Alberta.

Japan's government says it has halted sales of Canadian wheat after some unauthorized genetically modified wheat was discovered in southern Alberta.

"We are suspending the tender and sale of Canadian wheat until we confirm that the Canadian wheat that Japan buys contains no GMO," a Japanese farm ministry official said, as quoted by Reuters news service.

Tests carried out by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) found the wheat carried a trait developed by Monsanto to tolerate the weed-killer Roundup, Reuters reported.

Such modified wheat is not approved for commercial use in Canada.

Watch: Monsanto's name to disappear, but not its products, as Bayer completes buyout (story continues below)

David Bailey, an agency spokesman, says there is no evidence the wheat is in Canada's grain or seed system and there should be no effect on grain exports.

"It is not in our commercial system and therefore is not in our trade of grain and seed — it is not a concern for agriculture,'' he said Thursday.

"We are doing everything we can to keep business running as usual for Canadian wheat producers.''

Health Canada has also concluded the modified wheat does not pose a food safety risk.

Earlier on HuffPost Canada:


The CFIA says it isn't sure how the modified wheat came to be on the farm access road.

The agency says it will work with the landowner to monitor the area over the next three years to help prevent any genetically modified wheat from persisting.

In 2013, several Asian countries temporarily banned U.S. wheat imports after genetically modified wheat was found unexpectedly in a field on an Oregon farm.

'No evidence' of the wheat strain anywhere else

Agriculture Canada says it is notifying Canada's key wheat trading partners to provide them with all relevant information.

"Based on the extensive scientific testing by the CFIA, there is no evidence that this wheat is present anywhere other than the isolated site where it was discovered,'' the department said in an email.

"This wheat is also not a match for any currently registered seed varieties authorized for commercial sale or production in Canada, nor is it present in the Canadian grain or seed supply."

— HuffPost Canada with files from The Canadian Press

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