The European Commission said on Thursday it had asked EU member states to check imports of wheat from the U.S. which may be tainted with a genetically modified strain made by agrochemicals giant Monsanto.

The Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, said it had informed the 27 member states of the problem, “recommending [they] test the consignment of soft white wheat” in question.

“In case of a positive confirmed result, the consignment shall not be placed on the market,” it said in a statement.

Soft white wheat accounts for about 80 per cent of U.S. wheat imported annually by the EU, with most of it going to Spain.

The Commission noted that there “are no GM wheat varieties approved for sale or in commercial production in the United States or elsewhere at this time”.

It had contacted the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ask to be kept informed and had also got in touch with Monsanto, it said.

The EU allows only two GM products to be grown in the bloc — Monsanto’s MON 810 maize and German conglomerate BASF’s Amflora potato.

— AFP