EU feed industry on edge as it awaits approval of eight GM crops

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

EU feed industry on edge as it awaits approval of eight GM crops

Related tags: European union, Agriculture

Huge disruption to feed grain trade and subsequent price hikes would follow if the EU regulator does not approve eight genetically modified (GM) crops before the summer recess, say trade groups.

In order to give legal certainty to feed and food businesses, the EU Commission needs to complete the authorization procedure for the cereal crops, through a vote at the Commission College meeting on 25 July, said feed maker representatives, FEFAC, in a joint call with cereals and oilseed trade groups, COCERAL and FEDIOL, this week. 

A spokesperson for FEFAC told us: “There will be significant interruption to the supply of feedstuffs [maize, soybeans and oilseeds] to the EU, without this timely approval, due to traces of these [as yet unauthorized] crops in other sanctioned GM or non GM feedstuffs after the US harvest in October." 

The EU depends on imports from the US, Brazil and Argentina to cover 70% of its protein ingredients for feed for livestock.

Positive EFSA opinion

The eight GM crops have already successfully passed the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) risk assessment process.  They are now awaiting formal approval by the EC and include the following: 

  • Maize MON 87460
  • Rapeseed GT 73
  • Soybean 305423
  • Soybean MON87708
  • Soybean MON87705
  • Soybean BPS-CV127-9
  • Maize T25  
  • Cotton T304-40 

The competitiveness of the EU feed and meat industry will be seriously compromised if approval doesn’t come through next week, said the FEFAC representative, as the subsequent restrictions in the supply of protein inputs will inevitably result in higher feed and livestock prices:

"The Commission College assembly is the last chance to formally complete the authorization procedure before the summer."

But considering the political ramifications around GM issues, he said, there is no guarantee of the crops in question being sanctioned this month. 

Codex guidelines for GM presence

FEFAC, speaking to this publication in May, said the EU needs to develop a true low level GM presence policy based on global Codex guidelines for crop imports to avoid future serious market disruptions in the face of the fast expanding global GM pipeline. 

The extent of GM adoption globally is increasing annually; the area of GM cultivated worldwide in 2010 accounted for 148 million hectares, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).

"From a strategic food security perspective, there is an urgent need to ensure the predictable implementation of the EU approval procedure of new GM events for imports, while setting a workable low level presence threshold for the adventitious presence of GM events still awaiting formal approval,”​ said FEFAC in a report​.

Related topics: Europe, Certification, Regulation, Grains

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2 comments

Fracking and GMOs are the future for Europe

Posted by Mischa Popoff,

When will European policy makers wake up and realize that their very future depends on embracing fracking and genetic engineering? Failing that, they will most-assuredly lose the Cold War to the Soviets almost a quarter century after the Soviet Union collapsed.

Report abuse

Let them eat Russian grain?

Posted by First Officer,

I'm sure strongman Putin will be happy to control their food supply for them. Gazprom can send the grain via their pipelines during the times they'll cut off the gas to the EU.

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