May 31, 2013 — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) have been made aware that the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries or MAFF has temporarily suspended tenders for soft white wheat from the United States because of the recent announcement from USDA that an unauthorized Roundup Ready GM trait was detected in volunteer wheat on a single farm in Oregon. MAFF has not, however, suspended or restricted all U.S. wheat imports as some reports claim. MAFF did purchase U.S. hard red spring wheat and hard red winter wheat in its regular tender this week. Our organizations are also aware that wheat buyers in South Korea have temporarily suspended purchases of U.S. soft white wheat.
Because of the isolated nature of this discovery, there appears to be little scientific reason for governments to suspend U.S. soft white wheat purchases. In its announcement this week, USDA made it clear that there is no evidence suggesting that this material has entered commercial supplies and that there is no health risk associated with it.
However, nothing is more important than the trust we’ve earned with our customers at home and around the world by providing a reliable supply of high-quality wheat. Japan is clearly a valued customer of the American wheat industry. We are cooperating with authorities in the United States, Japan, Korea and other countries to understand the facts surrounding this incident and we are now working closely with our valued customers to help them make informed decisions about wheat imports as the U.S. government shares more facts about this situation from their investigation.