Japan and South Korea have partially suspended US wheat imports after genetically modified crops that have never been approved were discovered in Oregon, officials and wheat industry representatives said on Friday. Both countries planned to implement further testing including the European Union.
The strain of wheat, specifically designed to be resistant to Monsanto’s pervasive Roundup weedkiller, was never commercially developed by Monsanto as wheat growers did not want to risk retaliation from their biggest export markets.
Investors drove down the price of Monsanto shares by 4 percent on in May 2013 as South Korea joined Japan in suspending imports of U.S. wheat.
Both Asian countries temporarily suspended imports of soft white US wheat, which is used mainly to make baked goods and noodles, but did not cancel other wheat imports from the United States, industry groups U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) have both stated.
Japan is the largest importer of American wheat, followed by Nigeria, Mexico, South Korea, the Philippines and the European Union.
Other countries including agricultural officials in the Philippines have said they are monitoring the situation.