At a press conference, Yoshimasa Hayashi, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) announced Japan will resume importing western white wheat on August 1 and soft white wheat on August 7.
Japan suspended white wheat import two months ago after the discovery of a volunteer stand of genetically modified (GM) wheat, MON71800, plants on a farm in Oregon.
On July 5, MAFF began testing imported U.S. wheat before the suspension. In addition, MAFF also tested library samples of U.S. western wheat imported October 2012 through May 2013. All test results were negative.
“It is important that we maintain such a (testing) system so we can respond when we discover something that shouldn’t be there,” Hayashi said.
Moving forward, all U.S. wheat will be tested for the genetic modified strain before shipment from the U.S. and all wheat cargoes will be tested again upon arrival.
In related news, USDA reported that All of the evidence collected thus far – specifically, the absence of MON71800 in seed and grain samples tested by USDA laboratories, and reports from nearly 270 farmers interviewed by USDA investigators that they have not observed glyphosate-resistant wheat plants in their fields – "indicates that the extent of the presence of this GE wheat remains the single detection of the GE wheat plants in one field of one farm in Oregon."
USDA continues to work to uncover how the GE wheat came to be in the field and to determine the extent of its presence.