U.S. Wheat Associates and NAWG Statement Response to USDA Announcement and Statement on Overseas Market Situations
June 06, 2013
Statement on Overseas Market Situations
June 7, 2013 -- U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) is aware that the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) has temporarily suspended tenders specifically 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 did not, as has been reported, cancel a contract for 25,000 metric tons of U.S. wheat, nor has it 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 last week and again this week.
Our organizations are also aware that private wheat buyers in Korea have temporarily suspended purchases of U.S. soft white wheat, pending official decisions from Korea’s Ministry of Food & Drug Safety (MFDS). MFDS did announce yesterday that it had collected and tested 40 samples of wheat and 5 samples of flour milled from wheat that had been shipped/imported from Oregon, and that all tests showed that no unapproved recombinant wheat has been identified to date. Unlike Japan’s MAFF, Korea’s private buyers do not issue tenders on a set schedule and collectively have 175,000 metric tons of open U.S. wheat purchases on the books that are unaffected by their voluntary delay of new purchases.
No government agency nor buyers in Taiwan have taken steps to restrict any U.S. wheat imports as of June 7. A Taiwan Flour Millers Association (TFMA) group purchase of U.S. wheat, including Western White (a mixture of soft white and club) is scheduled for arrival the week of June 10 and TFMA says it will accept the statement (posted below) from the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), which includes the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) stating: "There are no transgenic wheat varieties for sale or in commercial production in the United States at this time."
The European Commission has recommended to its member states that they should test U.S. soft white wheat to be imported. We cannot actually say if any EU member state has or has not tested any wheat, nor can we confirm if any country there has postponed any purchases of U.S. wheat because their purchases are not made on a set schedule. We do know specifically that EU nations have imported only a very small number of container loads of soft white wheat over the past several years…and almost never import U.S. wheat from ports in the Pacific Northwest.
On a world level, USDA's weekly US wheat export sales report issued on June 6 showed new crop sales were a very respectable 24.4 million bushels (664,000 MT). Average trade guesses ahead of the report ranged from 15 to 22 million bushels.
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. These are valued customers of the American wheat industry. We are cooperating with authorities in the United States and in countries that buy our wheat to understand the facts surrounding this incident. We have been working closely with our customers to help them make informed decisions about wheat imports as the U.S. government shares more facts about this situation from their investigation.
U.S. Wheat Associates and NAWG Statement Response to USDA Announcement
May 29, 2013 -- U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers were notified Wednesday that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed that a genetically-modified, glyphosate-resistant wheat variety that Monsanto field tested from 1998 to 2005 was present in volunteer wheat on one farm in Oregon.
APHIS included a statement about the safety of this trait in its report today and confirmed that the material detected is as safe for food and feed use as non-biotech wheat varieties now on the market. In addition, APHIS stated that at this time, there is no information that indicates that this regulated trait has entered the commercial supply chain.
"Roundup Ready” crops have been genetically modified to include a gene that works to make that crop resistant to the broad-spectrum herbicide glyphosate, also known by its branded name, Roundup. No Roundup Ready wheat, or any other genetically modified wheat, has been authorized by USDA for commercial sale in the United States or anywhere else in the world.
Monsanto did conduct research on Roundup Ready spring wheat in the past, but withdrew its application for deregulation of the trait in wheat in 2004. APHIS will be investigating this detection to determine how this trait appeared outside of a regulated environment. We expect the regulatory authority’s investigation will give us additional details about the situation and any appropriate actions that may be needed.
Although a Roundup Ready trait for wheat was never commercialized, in 2004 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded that the Roundup Ready trait in wheat did not pose a health risk in food or animal feed. We are confident that U.S. wheat, wheat flour and wheat foods remain safe, wholesome and nutritious for people around the world.
We know it is important to understand how this situation occurred, and we have confidence that APHIS will be able to determine that as soon as possible. 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. As industry leaders, we will cooperate with authorities in the United States and international markets to understand the facts surrounding this incident and help minimize its impact.
We appreciate our customers standing with us while we monitor the investigation, and we will share additional information as soon as it becomes available.
For more from APHIS, visit http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/2013/05/ge_wheat_detection.shtml.
US Wheat Associates
National Association of Wheat Growers
USDA - APHIS
APHIS press release, and updated (June 3, 2013) Q and A and video HERE.
FDA statements on safety of event in question HERE and HERE.
USDA’s GIPSA/FGIS statement that there are “no transgenic wheat varieties for sale or in commercial production in the United States at this time” is HERE.
(See attached file: GIPSA GM Wheat May 31 2013.pdf)
Monsanto statements are HERE.