The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) welcomed Friday's (3 November) report that USDA and Japan's Ministry of Health and Welfare have agreed on a standard method of testing and exporting of U.S. corn for food to Japan.Under the agreement, Japanese importers will accept U.S. corn that has met quality assurance guidelines for testing, handling, transportation and identity-preservation from elevators to export ships. "Our sampling and testing will be acceptable to our Japanese customers, and that returns certainty to the marketplace," said NCGA President Lee Klein, a farmer from Battle Creek, Neb.StarLink hybrids have been approved for feed use in the U.S., but have not yet been cleared for food use. In Japan, StarLink is not approved for food use. A feed approval is pending in Japan."We applaud the hard work of U.S. and Japanese officials who negotiated their way through a very complex set of regulatory issues and different testing systems to achieve a solution that answers the needs of each sovereign trading partner," Klein said, noting that NCGA Executive Vice President and CEO Rick Tolman participated in September meetings between Japanese government officials and USDA. Those discussions laid the groundwork for the testing agreement."This is an indication of the trust the Japanese have in the ability of the U.S. grain marketing system to employ a voluntary quality assurance process that meets their nation's regulatory requirements," Klein added.NCGA expects the next developments will be feed use approval of StarLink in Japan and EPA food use approval of StarLink in the United States.