Japan has a two-month inventory of Western White wheat, used in flour for cakes and other sweets, and concerns about a shortage after U.S. wheat imports were denied entry into the country are unwarranted, according to farm minister Yoshimawa Hayashi. Japan blocked the imports after unapproved genetically modified wheat was found growing in the U.S. state of Oregon, according to reports.
Imports from the U.S. are not expected to resume until the conclusion of the U.S. investigation into the strain of wheat, modified by Monsanto Co. for herbicide tolerance but never put into commercial production. "We're looking to the development of an investigation by U.S. authorities," said Hayashi. "But if the period of the halt is prolonged, we may have to consider the possibility of an earlier supply than usual of this year's locally grown wheat and the possibility of importing alternative types from abroad."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has conducted tests to identify the wheat strain and said there is no evidence that any genetically modified crops have entered the supply chain.