Countries accused of dumping gluten

Australia and several European nations are exporting wheat gluten to Canada at a price well below market value.

That’s the allegation of ADM Agri-Industries, which produces wheat gluten at a plant in Quebec.

The Canadian International Trade Tribunal and the Canadian Border Services Agency (CSBA) is looking into the complaint and is expected to issue a ruling this fall.

“On Oct. 13, 2020, the tribunal will determine whether there is a reasonable indication that the alleged dumping has caused injury or retardation, or are threatening to cause injury,” the federal government said in a news release. “If so, the CBSA will continue its investigation and, by Nov. 12, 2020, will make a preliminary determination.”

ADM claims that Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and Lithuania are selling wheat gluten into Canada at prices below the cost of production and lower than what companies charge in Europe or Australia.

“(ADM) seeks a level playing field to compete on fair and equal terms with imports in the Canadian market,” the company said in a release.

Wheat gluten is commonly used in the baking industry to supplement gluten proteins already in flour. The added gluten helps increase dough strength and elasticity of the dough.

“An example of additional gluten being added to the ingredients of a bakery product is in the manufacture of hamburger buns,” says the New Zealand Association of Bakers. “The addition of gluten to the dough provides the elasticity needed so that the buns retain a uniform shape when filled.”

Wheat gluten is also used as binding ingredient in sausage and processed meats, and in processed foods like frozen pizza.

In 2019, the global market for wheat gluten was worth about $2 billion and the market is expected to reach $2.74 billion by 2027, based on reports from Business Wire. Most the growth will occur in China and India, thanks to increased consumption of bakery products.

The Western Producer contacted ADM for more information on its complaint. A spokesperson said it doesn’t have additional comment because the “matter is working its way through the administrative procedure in Canada.”

Permolex, a company in Alberta, produces wheat gluten at its plant in Red Deer. The Western Producer contacted Permolex about the wheat gluten market but it didn’t respond by publication deadlines.

Contact robert.arnason@producer.com

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