China’s quarantine bureau confirmed Nov. 2 that it had discovered traces of an unapproved genetically modified organism (GMO) in a U.S. corn cargo and had refused its entry into China.
“A genetically modified element which is not approved by the Agriculture Ministry has been identified in the cargo and according to the relevant State Council regulation, the cargo will be returned,” an official with the Shenzhen Entry- Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau told Reuters.
The official declined to identify the buyer of the cargo, but said the unapproved GMO strain was MON89034.
The GMO corn strain, developed by Monsanto Company, does not have a safety certificate for imports from China’s Agriculture Ministry, analysts said.
Monsanto officials in Beijing reached by Reuters declined to comment.
One trading manager at a feed mill in Guangdong said the cargo belonged to COFCO Co. Ltd., which bought on behalf of several feed mills in the province.
The cargo arrived at the Port of Chiwan in September and was discharged into silos at ports, but feed mills were not allowed to take the goods, said the manager, who is one of the end-users.
China, the world’s second-largest consumer, has booked the largest volume of U.S. corn in a decade after tight supply drove up domestic prices higher than U.S. prices in the first half of the year.
The official said the cargo was most likely resold to the overseas market. COFCO bought the cargo from a Japanese trading house, Mitsubishi Corp., three trading sources said.