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S. Korea halts some U.S. GM wheat imports on safety concerns

2016/07/29 19:44

SEOUL, July 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Friday it has suspended customs clearance for some genetically altered wheat from the United States due to safety concerns.

The measure came as the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture informed Seoul that an unapproved strain of genetically modified wheat was found in the western state of Washington, according to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.

It said the distribution and sales of wheat already imported from the state will be temporarily halted as well.

South Korea imported a total of 619,000 tons of wheat and 2,700 tons of flour from the U.S. this year as of July 25.

More than half of the wheat was produced in the state, but no flour was imported by South Korea.

The ministry said it has requested the APHIS to give detailed information on the unapproved wheat and inspection methods.

Chances are slim that the wheat will flow into South Korea, however, as it was found in land not used for commercial purposes, it added.

"We will throughly inspect genetically modified wheat from Washington State as soon as the U.S. provides relevant information," a ministry official said.

lcd@yna.co.kr

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