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Japan's millers just say no to GM wheat

(February 23, 2001 -- Cropchoice news) -- Monsanto may want to bring genetically modified wheat to market, but Japanese millers don't want it and won't buy it. That's the message that the Japan Flour Millers Association sent on Wednesday in an official statement.

An excerpt from the statement read: ``Japanese consumers are highly suspicious and skeptical about safety of GM farm products, which may be hazardous to human health and environment... Under the circumstances, flour millers strongly doubt that any bakery, noodle and confectionary products made of GM wheat or even conventional wheat that may contain GM wheat will be accepted in the Japanese market.''

The Association's board of directors said that Japan could stop buying U.S. wheat if Monsanto follows through on its plans to introduce herbicide-resistant Roundup Ready wheat to the market in 2003 or later.

The millers that make up the Association account for more than 90 percent of the total wheat market share in Japan.

U.S. wheat growers fear that the bioengineered wheat could cost them an important export market. The United States will ship almost 1.5 million tons of wheat to Japan this year.

European and Middle Eastern countries have also sent negative signals about the modified wheat.

Source: Reuters