Friday, May 31, 2013

South Korean millers suspend U.S. wheat imports

South Korean millers suspended imports of U.S. wheat on Friday and some Asian countries stepped up inspections after the discovery of an unapproved strain of genetically modified wheat in the United States, but stopped short of imposing import bans.

U.S. officials are racing to quash global alarm in the wake of news the strain of wheat, developed by biotech giant Monsanto Co (MON.N), had been found in an Oregon field late last month. The discovery has already prompted major buyer Japan to cancel plans to buy U.S. wheat while the European Union said it would step up tests.

South Korea - which last year sourced roughly half of its total wheat imports of 5 million metric tons from the U.S. - has also raised quarantine measures on U.S. feed wheat, while Thailand put ports on alert.