Sat, Jun 01, 2013 - Page 13 News List

US wheat imports likely to continue: association

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

The nation is not expected to see a delay in wheat shipments from the US, after unauthorized genetically modified grains were found at a farm in Oregon state earlier this week, the Taiwan Flour Mills Association (TFMA) said yesterday.

The TFMA’s remark came after the US Department of Agriculture on Wednesday said it had initiated an investigation following the discovery of a herbicide-resistant strain of wheat at a farm in Oregon.

Japan yesterday suspended some wheat imports from the US. Taiwan does not allow imports of genetically modified wheat.

The flour association said the nation’s wheat market would not be affected by the issue because local companies only import “soft white wheat” and “hard red wheat,” which are known in Taiwan as “low-gluten wheat” and “mid and high-gluten wheat” respectively.

The unapproved genetically modified wheat in question is categorized as “hard white wheat,” the association said.

An association member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Japan decided to ban some hard white wheat from Oregon because the strains in question are used to make spaghetti and ramen, two of Japan’s favorite noodle dishes.

“Taiwan-made noodles are made with soft white wheat and hard red wheat. We do not import hard white wheat because retail stores import ready-made ramen from Japan,” the person said.

Taiwan imports about 1.2 million tonnes of wheat from Montana, Kansas and Idaho every year.

The figure reflects a 80 percent share of total wheat imports from the US, Canada and Australia each year, according to the association.

Wheat imports amount to US$480 million a year, it added.

Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday that it received reports from the US government, but had requested further details about the case.

“We will monitor the US government’s investigation closely and may ask customs to adopt regulatory measures if necessary,” the administration said in a statement.

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