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3-Food: Japanese food companies and US non-GMO soybean producers meet

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TITLE:  Japan food companies to tour US, seeking non-GMO soybeans
SOURCE: Dow Jones, by Daniel Rosenberg
DATE:   July 22, 1999

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Japan food companies to tour US, seeking non-GMO soybeans

CHICAGO -- A team of Japanese food company officials will,
according to this story, scour the U.S. next month for sources of
unaltered soybeans, reflecting mounting concern in Japan about
genetically-modified organisms in food. A highlight of the tour
will be a trip to U.S. Soy LLC, a processing firm in Mattoon,
Ill. that handles only unaltered soy. The visit is scheduled for
Aug. 10.

Jim Skiff, president of U.S. Soy, was quoted as saying, "We're
ideal for them. I expect 80% or more of our business in the
future will be for export to Japan and the European Union." The
story says that the tour, which will bring 15 members of the
"Japanese Food Bean Team" to four U.S. states, is an annual
event. Officials from food processing companies such as Showa
Sangyo Co. Ltd. and Ajinomoto Co., Inc., as well as officials
from the Tokyo Grain Exchange, will take part. The American
Soybean Association, with the help of the U.S. Department of
Agriculture and the United Soybean Board, arranged the trip. The
tour is funded by the participants.

Unlike previous tours, this year's junket will focus on sourcing
identity-preserved beans, or beans that can be guaranteed free of
GMOs. The tour's objective, outlined on a memo, is "to increase
the demand of identity-preserved food beans to replace ordinary
crushing soybeans...and to ensure that these value-added beans
come from the U.S." Gil Griffis, division director for Asia in
the International Marketing department of the ASA in St. Louis,
was quoted as saying, "We want to bring them in contact with
suppliers of identity-preserved soybeans. This is the first year
that GMO or non-GMO has become an issue, and they'll certainly be
interested in sourcing non-GMO beans."

The story goes on to say that each year, Japan imports about one
million metric tons of food-grade soybeans and another 3.7
million to 4 million tons of feed-use beans from all sources. So
far this crop year, which began last Sept. 1, the U.S. has sold
3.19 million metric tons of beans to Japan, the USDA said. 

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