Feed sector lobbyists disappointed over 'lack of progress' on GM approval process

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union, Genetically modified organism, European commission

Feed sector lobbyists disappointed over 'lack of progress' on GM approval process
EU feed and cereal sector representatives say the postponement of a decision on the authorization of eight genetically modified (GM) crops by the European Commission is ‘highly problematic’ for the security of protein supplies.

Last week, compound feed manufacturer representatives, FEFAC, in a joint call with cereals and oilseed trade groups, COCERAL and FEDIOL, had urged EU policymakers to complete the authorization procedure for the crops, through a vote at the Commission College on 25 July. 

Nathalie Lecocq, director general of Fediol, told this publication today: 

“Much to our disappointment, the GM authorization process has not been included in the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting, and, we have learnt from subsequent discussions with the Commission, that there is, as of yet, no other date set for a review of the status of these cereals.”​ 

She said a decision needs to be taken by September "at the very latest".

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

In the absence of approval, says FEFAC, EU feed businesses could face a significant interruption to the supply of maize, soybeans and oilseeds from exporting countries due to traces of these [as yet unauthorized] crops in other sanctioned GM or non GM feedstuffs after the US harvest in October.

“The authorization process is a long time in coming. Some of these GM crops are awaiting approval since the end of 2013,”​ added Lecocq.

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 

Organic feed derogation extended

Meanwhile, in other legislative developments, the Commission recently extended the EU derogation that allows the inclusion of 5% non-organic material in organic pig and poultry feed, and also the use of non-organic pullets for the egg sector, for another three years.

The provision was due to expire on 31 December this year but a meeting of the standing committee on organic farming on 9 July in Brussels took the decision to delay imposing a 100% organic feed ruling on the sector until the end of 2017.

The derogation was originally scheduled to end in 2011, with producers expected to use 100% organic feed from January 2012. However, it was extended to the end of 2014 after industry representatives argued that there was insufficient quantity or quality of organic feed to allow producers to feed a 100% organic diet and to ensure the nutrient requirements of pigs and poultry were met.

A spokesperson for the EU farm lobby group, Copa-Cogega, told feednavigator:

“We called for this and support maintaining the current derogation of 5% non-organic animal feed for monogastrics until the implementation of the new regulation on organic farming.

We believe that a strategy to boost production of organic protein crops at EU level needs to be developed which takes into account the link between the prices of different agricultural products, industry-related problems and the competition posed by non-EU countries.”

Tom Lander, food chain adviser for the UK farmer representatives, the NFU, said the extension now gives a level of certainty to the organic pig and poultry sectors for the next three years.

But some feed makers were disappointed with the ruling.

“At the very least we might have expected the organic content requirement to be increased from the current 95% to 97.5%,”​ said Ian Proctor, managing director of UK based Hi Peak Organic Feeds.

He said that the supply of sufficient organic raw materials to meet the 100% ruling will only materialize when genuine market demand exists.

"Further delaying the ruling distorts market forces and hinders progress towards such demand being achieved," ​said Proctor.

 

Related topics: Poultry, Europe, Regulation, Grains

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