South Korea lifts suspension on Canadian wheat sales

Namdaemun, the “Great Southern Gate” in the walls that once surrounded the city of Seoul. This photo was taken before a 2008 fire damaged the gate’s wooden structure, which was restored by May 2013. (

Seoul | Reuters — South Korea’s food ministry on Tuesday said it had lifted a temporary suspension on sales of Canadian wheat as it had not discovered any unapproved genetically modified strains during tests on imports.

South Korea suspended sales of Canadian wheat last week after Canada announced the discovery in mid-2017 of an unapproved genetically modified (GM) variety of the grain growing along an access road in southern Alberta.

“As we have found no unapproved GM wheat in imports of wheat and flour Canada, we have lifted the temporary sales suspension of Canadian products,” the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said in a statement.

The food ministry added it would continue to test shipments of Canadian wheat and flour from Canada.

Industry group Cereals Canada hailed the Korean government’s announcement later Tuesday, also thanking the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Canadian Grain Commission for their “strong technical work.”

The Canadian industry and government “will continue to work with Japan as they complete their due diligence,” the group said. Japan on June 15 announced a suspension of imports similar to Korea’s, but has not yet lifted its ban.

The Alberta Wheat Commission, in a separate release Tuesday, said the “quick resolution of this issue verified the integrity of the Canadian science-based regulatory and quality control systems” under the CGC and CFIA.

“This resolution is a critical step forward in providing assurance to Canadian wheat customers that Canada does not produce or ship genetically modified wheat,” AWC chairman Kevin Bender said.

— Reporting for Reuters by Jane Chung. Includes files from Network staff.


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