UPDATE 1-China complains about gluten strength of Canadian wheat

Tue Apr 2, 2013 3:39pm EDT
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* Gluten important for keeping shape of baked goods

* Problem may be related to growing different varieties

By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, April 2 (Reuters) - China's state-owned agricultural trading company, COFCO, has complained about the poor baking performance of some Canadian spring wheat shipments and has suggested it may import more U.S. wheat instead, Canadian industry officials say.

COFCO raised concerns about weak gluten strength in some Canadian wheat shipments last month with a visiting delegation from the Canadian International Grains Institute (CIGI), the institute's chief executive, Earl Geddes, said.

Geddes said at a Canada Grains Council meeting in Winnipeg on Tuesday that COFCO officials told the delegation that if the problem isn't corrected, COFCO may import more Dark Northern Spring (DNS) wheat from the United States instead of Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS).

"It's damaging the consistency part of the (Canadian wheat) brand as much as anything," Geddes said on the sidelines of the grains council meeting. "I don't think this is insurmountable in any way, to where the Canadian wheat brand will lose its position," he added.

CIGI is a nonprofit organization funded by the industry, farmers and the Canadian government to support buyers of Canadian crops.

Canada is the world's biggest exporter of spring wheat and highly regarded by importers for its top-quality supplies. China is the world's second-biggest wheat producer after the European Union but also buys Canadian spring wheat for flour used in baking.   Continued...