South Korea and Japan temporarily suspended new purchases of Western white wheat following news on July 29 that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investigating 22 bioengineered wheat plants found in a field in the U.S. state of Washington.
South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said it would continue to test shipments of U.S. wheat and flour for bioengineered traits.
Separately, the North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) on Aug. 4 issued a statement noting food safety “is a top priority for the entire wheat industry, including growers, millers and manufacturers.”
“We invest our resources and reputations in providing consumers with safe, nutritious and affordable products, and we are committed to open communication with all stakeholders in the spirit of full transparency,” NAMA said.
NAMA noted that the prospect of bioengineered wheat “holds great promise,” but added that “more research needs to be conducted to conclusively determine its safety and benefits before it is a viable option for growers, processors, manufacturers and consumers.”
The agency said it trusts the process APHIS is taking to sequester the wheat crop and believes there is no need for consumers to change their food purchasing or eating habits.
“NAMA will continue to monitor the situation, cooperate with APHIS as appropriate and keep its stakeholders informed,” NAMA said.