In the June 22 Spokesman-Review, the editorial, “Explanation needed for find in field of GMO wheat,” infers that Japan has consumed 1.5 billion dollars worth of genetically engineered mangoes from Brazil over a six-month period. Where is the source for backing the statement that the mangoes “… may have been genetically modified?”
There have been no genetically engineered mangoes approved by the Japanese government. While Japan does import mangoes from Brazil, they are not genetically engineered. Further, no genetically modified mangoes are for sale anywhere in the world.
Genetically engineered papayas are also being rejected by Japan. In 2011, papaya-growers in Okinawa were found to be using illegal genetically modified papaya imported from Taiwan. The farmers, who did not know that their trees were genetically engineered, had to cut down their trees, incurring losses up to 70 million yen.
Unless The Spokesman-Review has a source that has knowledge of contamination via a mango test plot in Brazil, and assuming the editor knows the difference between genetic modification and genetic engineering, this opinion is misleading. The seriousness of genetically engineered wheat contamination cannot be diluted. It is clear that Japan does not want genetically engineered wheat.
Editor’s note: The editorial statement that Japan may have imported genetically modified mangoes was incorrect.