South Korea resumes Canadian wheat imports

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South Korea has resumed Canadian wheat imports.


Gavin Young / Gavin Young

South Korea is importing Canadian wheat again eight days after suspending purchases following the announcement that a handful of unauthorized genetically modified plants were found in Alberta.

Rigorous testing showed there was no evidence of genetically modified wheat in commercial shipments, the Alberta Wheat Commission said in a Tuesday news release.

“This resolution is a critical step forward in providing assurance to Canadian wheat customers that Canada does not produce or ship genetically modified wheat,” commission chairman Kevin Bender said.

Canada sold $56 million worth of wheat to South Korea in 2017, or less than one per cent of the country’s total $6.6-billion wheat exports.

A contractor spraying for weeds along an access road in southern Alberta last summer informed local authorities that a few plants weren’t killed by Roundup herbicide, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency revealed earlier this month.

Tests found the plants were genetically modified to tolerate the weed killer, but didn’t make their way into the food supply and were isolated to the ditch where they were found.

Genetically modified wheat is not allowed to be grown commercially anywhere.

The plants didn’t match any of Canada’s 450 registered wheat varieties and their source is a mystery.

While the Alberta sample matched a genetically modified wheat line Roundup maker Monsanto used in research field trials, the tests were done at least 300 kilometres away between 1998 and 2000.

Japan, which bought about $600 million worth of Canadian wheat last year, has also temporarily stopped purchases to look into the issue.

The federal government is working with Japanese officials to ensure they have all the information necessary to lift the suspension as soon as possible, Global Affairs Canada spokesperson Allison Lewis said in an emailed statement Tuesday.

No other countries have taken measures against Canadian wheat.

gkent@postmedia.com

twitter.com/GKentYEG



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July 11, 2018 |

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