OTTAWA — The Canadian government on July 21 announced that Japan has lifted its temporary suspension of Canadian wheat imports.
Japan and South Korea halted Canadian wheat shipments last month after some unauthorized genetically modified wheat was found in wheat plant samples in southern Alberta.
Genetically modified wheat is not approved for commercial use anywhere in the world.
South Korea lifted its ban on Canadian wheat in late June.
Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, issued a statement in which he said extensive scientific testing has shown that the unauthorized wheat “is not present in the food or animal feed system, or anywhere other than the isolated site where it was discovered.”
“The government of Canada welcomes the decision by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture to lift the temporary suspension on imports of Canadian wheat, following its own thorough scientific testing of Canadian wheat shipments,” Mr. MacAulay said.
Testing in March by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Canadian Grain Commission revealed the G.M. wheat found in Alberta didn’t match any of the 450 wheat varieties sold in Canada. Testing in April revealed the Alberta wheat sample matched a Monsanto G.M. wheat line (MON71200) used in multiple confined research field trials in the late 1990s and early 2000s in Canada and the United States, in both cases more than 300 miles from the 2017 Alberta discovery. Concurrent testing of seed and grain samples from actual wheat fields adjacent to the herbicide-resistant roadside plants indicated no G.M.O. wheat.
Canadian wheat production in 2017 was 30 million tonnes across an area of 22 million acres, making it one of the largest field crops in Canada.
Canada is one of the world’s largest wheat exporters and is South Korea’s No. 3 wheat supplier after the United States and Australia.
Japan imported 1.4 million tonnes of wheat from Canada last year and 1.6 million tonnes the year before
In 2016, Japan and South Korea temporarily suspended U.S. wheat imports after a similar G.M. wheat finding.