Japan Halts U.S. White Wheat Purchases Until GMO Test is Created
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This news unsurprisingly follows U.S. reports of a third incidence of GMO wheat contamination in the Pacific Northwest. Contrary to popular belief, wheat containing GMOs are not approved for the U.S. commercial market.
Steve Mercer, vice president of communications for U.S. Wheat says that Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries will resume purchases once a test designed by Monsanto and validated by USDA is available. Designed by Monsanto. Validated by the USDA. Given the U.S.’s history of rolling out the red carpet for untested and unapproved GMOs, is this is a prudent move for Japan?
White wheat is a crossbreed from other varieties that has a milder taste and color, making it ideal for giving a refined feel while keeping the “whole grain” so to speak. It is popular in Australia and Asia. With declining wheat sales in the U.S., this Pacific Northwest breed is important to farmers who have a market in Asia. This incident is another example of how the carelessness of Monsanto is devastating not only to human health and the environment, but also to farmers and the U.S. economy.
The most horror-inducing part of the incident is that this wheat – discovered in a fallow field (empty field) – was involved in a field trial that took place over a decade ago.
What wheat is this?
The wheat was developed by the Monsanto Co. and called MON 71700. It was evaluated in a limited number of field trials in the Pacific Northwest from 1998 to 2001 but never commercialized, according to Monsanto.
MON 71700 contains the same inserted DNA as MON 71800, which was found in an Eastern Oregon field in the spring of 2013. An APHIS investigation was unable to pinpoint the source of that wheat. The DNA is in a different genomic position, according to Monsanto.
Japan has been testing its wheat for MON 71800.
The new test will be capable of detecting both MON 71800 and MON 71700, Mercer said.
The Asian Market on GMOs
You may recall that Taiwan has banned GMOs in school cafeterias and recalled Quaker Oats products due to glyphosate contamination (while the U.S. did nothing). No official word yet from Taiwan about halted sales – or South Korea, which halted sales after the first incident of GMO contamination was discovered in 2013. Since then, Asian countries have tested just about every batch of U.S. wheat for the 2013 strain.
U.S. farmers are worried, too, and wonder how this could happen. One by the name of Jirava didn’t think anything underhanded was afoot but aptly noted that, “as long there’s geese, deer and mice, stuff’s going to move around that we don’t know about until it shows up.” In other words, it’s hard to keep nature contained and perhaps it doesn’t make the best controlled environment for testing something that can have a ripple effect on the entire world’s ecology.
APHIS says it is testing the farmer’s harvested wheat “out of an abundance of caution,” and adds that there’s no evidence of the genetically engineered wheat in the market. The FDA unsurprisingly took a lax attitude toward the GM wheat, saying that it’s “unlikely the [it] presents any safety concerns if present in the food supply.”
This article (Japan Halts U.S. White Wheat Purchases Until GMO Test is Created) can be republished with attribution to Heather Callaghan and Natural Blaze.com, keeping all links and bio intact.
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