A few unapproved genetically modified wheat plants found along an access road in Southern Alberta have resulted in Japan temporarily suspending wheat shipments from Canada.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced the discovery Thursday, June 14th, and said the handful of plants survived a spray treatment for weeds.
Japan made the move even after the CFIA proved there's no genetically modified wheat in commercial production in Canada.
Alberta's Economic Development and Trade Minister, Deron Bilous, revealed a more descriptive location of the genetically modified wheat plants.
"They were found last fall," Bilous said. "I believe in the County of Strathmore."
The CFIA said, they don't know how the genetically modified wheat got there.
The Canadian Grain Commission’s (CGC) ongoing monitoring of export cargoes has found no evidence of the unapproved trait in Canadian wheat shipments.
Bilous said, they are in communication with Japan.
"My office has contacted the Japanese consulate. We have an Alberta office in Japan. In fact, it's the oldest Alberta office out of all 12 of our international offices is in Japan. Our office is working very closely with the Canadian embassy, obviously in direct contact with the Japanese Government."
Chair of the Alberta Wheat Commission, Kevin Bender, hopes the suspension is brief.
"Our trading partners, there's a perception that it's maybe not as safe or healthy, which is false," Bender said. "Its been proven over the last 25 years that it is as safe, if not more so than any other of the things we grow, but the regulatory parameters aren't in place for that to be accepted on a global scale."
Bender said, we wil have to wait and see if Japanese officials are satisfied the genetically modified wheat is an isolated incident.
Genetically modified wheat has not been approved in any country.
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