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GMO wheat not allowed in Taiwan: FDA

2015/04/17 23:03:32

Taipei, April 17 (CNA) The Food and Drug Administration on Friday dismissed concerns of genetically modified wheat grown in the United States entering Taiwan's market, saying Taiwan bans imports of such wheat.

Taiwan allows genetically modified soybeans and corn but does not allow imports of genetically modified wheat, said Lee Wan-chen, a section chief at the FDA.

During a recent check on packaged food products, the FDA did not find any genetically modified wheat on the local market, Lee added.

The statement was made as bakeries and wheat mills face doubts from local customers that wheat from the U.S. might be genetically modified and are receiving requests to purchase wheat from Japan and Canada.

Concerns about U.S. wheat first arose in 2013 when GMO wheat tested by U.S. seed company Monsanto Co. without approval from U.S. regulators contaminated a regular wheat farm in Oregon, prompting Japan to suspend some wheat imports.

The U.S. Wheat Associates' Taiwan office dismissed the suspicions, saying the U.S. does not produce genetically modified wheat.

The U.S. Department of Africulture has worked to remove any genetically engineered wheat that remained at the site of Monsanto's experiment, which is no longer used by the company, said Ron Lu, head of the association's Taiwan office.

It has also conducted a check on wheat products in the country and found that none of them had been contaminated by Monsanto's genetically engineered wheat, Lu said.

In addition, all U.S-grown wheat sold to Taiwan comes with certificates verifying that it is non-GMO, he said.

U.S.-sourced wheat accounts for 80 percent of Taiwan's total wheat imports. Another 18 percent of its wheat imports come from Australia and the remaining 2 percent come from Canada.

(By Chen Ching-fang and Scully Hsiao)
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