Board Reassures Japan On GMO

Published online: Jun 07, 2001
National Potato Promotion Board staff has worked nonstop since it has learned of the detection of GMO material in potato products being sold in Japan.

The Board reassured importers that U.S. dehy was free of unapproved varieties and that all requests for GMO-free produce will be met, reliably and easily.

The Board staff has been in constant contact with the U.S. Agricultural Office at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and with FAS personnel in Washington, DC. Additionally, the Board initiated a dialog with Monsanto personnel in St. Louis.

The Board has explained to Japanese food company representatives that there was an extremely small planting of GMO potatoes in the U.S. and that the technology derived by Monsanto, had been shelved.

The Board also said it would test U.S. dehy currently held by companies in Japan and work with the U.S. dehy industry to develop a testing procedure for finished product destined for export to Japan.

The finding came in a snack product made from dehy imports. The exporter has recalled $4 million unsold bags of the snack food. The snack products were reported to have been from dehy produced from 1999 crop potatoes. The product had been imported from three U.S. companies and one in Canada. It was unknown which dehy shipments contained the GMO material.

The first two NewLeaf potato varieties were approved by the Japanese. But NewLeaf-Plus and New Leaf-Y are not, although Monsanto applied for their approval in 1998. A request for additional information by the Japanese government slowed the approval process for these two varieties.