Japanese millers learn about Canadian wheat at Cigi

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Mr. Noriyuki Shibamoto (left) and Mr. Tsunenori Onuki display a sample of noodles at Cigi.

Mr. Noriyuki Shibamoto (left) and Mr. Tsunenori Onuki display a sample of noodles processed at Cigi.

Eight representatives from Japanese customer milling companies spent last week at Cigi in lectures and hands-on demonstrations in the technical areas of analytical services, baking, extruded products, and noodle processing to learn about the merits of Canadian wheat for their flour processing requirements. A major focus of the program was on how newly registered CWRS varieties are having a positive impact on this wheat class which is regarded highly in Japan. The group also spent time with the Canadian Grain Commission and ended the week with a trip to Vancouver en route back to Japan with tours of a terminal grain elevator and the Port of Vancouver.

Cigi spoke with two of the participants, Mr. Noriyuki Shibamoto, an assistant manager in Quality Control with Chiba Mill, Nisshin Flour Milling Inc., and Mr. Tsunenori Onuki, a manager in the Bakery Development Section of Chiba Flour Milling Co. Ltd. Both milling companies import their wheat from the U.S, Australia, and Canada and Chiba Flour Milling also imports a small amount from France. They both estimated about 20 percent of their wheat is from Canada. CWRS is milled for use in pan breads and yellow alkaline noodles and Nisshin Flour Milling also imports CWAD for use in pasta production.

“In the mill I work at we mill only CWRS which I would say has good baking properties,” says  Mr. Shibamoto. “The quality is very stable, very few foreign materials or dockage. We really regard this as very high quality.”

Mr.  Onuki  agreed the quality of CWRS is very stable and the safety and sanitation is very good. “The quality standards are met so in these areas Canadian wheat is very reliable. And also when we have requests or inquiries Canada takes the time to respond.”

The time spent with Cigi technical staff helped to address any questions from the group. For example, Mr. Onuki said that there have been some concerns about a decrease in gluten strength of CWRS.

“Each instructor has been very meticulous in responding to any questions,” added Mr. Shibamoto. “I learned a lot and it deepened my knowledge. I have been told by people in my company about Canadian wheat but now I am hearing about Canadian wheat from people directly involved in the wheat business here and I can see they have passion and stringent standards so now I can feel confident and reassured about the quality. I would say to people back in Japan this is the optimal training opportunity to learn about Canadian wheat.”

For those who work with Canadian wheat, the program was useful in covering the basics, according to Mr. Onuki. “I think this is a good opportunity to learn the basics again for the people who have experience. When I go back to my office I’d like to start the selection of the people to send next time if we are given this opportunity again.”