Germany: Edeka Südwest to roll out GMO-free meat and sausages

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Aquir
© GettyImages/Aquir

Related tags Edeka Group Germany GMO-free Pork

Pigs, under a premium pork brand from the German food retailer, Edeka Südwest, are now being fed with certified European soybeans, reported Donau Soja, an Austrian not-for-profit initiative promoting GM-free soy production in Europe.

Edeka Südwest’s ‘Hofglück’ program is one that favors regional animal feeds and other quality criteria, particularly in relation to animal welfare. The animals have more space, possibility for exercise, and limited transport time, said Michaela Meyer, head of sustainability, Edeka Südwest.

In order to also focus on sustainability and to place a greater emphasis on the use of regional animal feed, the retailer has been cooperating with Donau Soja since January this year, to use GMO-free soy ingredients, she explained.

“In the participating Edeka Südwest markets, various meat and sausage products such as bratwursts, pork goulash and pork schnitzel will be offered under the new brand.”

The 'Hofglück’ program comprises about 50 farms, Ursula Bittner, general secretary and spokesperson, Donau Soja association, told FeedNavigator.

"Some 1,200 pigs get slaughtered every week [under this program], and it is certified and controlled by an independent inspection body." 

Other supermarkets and food brands can take the lead from Edeka Südwest on this; there would be enough tonnage available to cover additional initiatives, she stressed.

"Currently, around 600,000 tons of certified Donau Soja and Europe Soya are available on the market."

Donau Soja and Europe Soya are GMO-free soy standards for the crop grown in the Danube region and Europe, respectively.

The cultivation of soy and other legumes like peas and field beans contributes to diverse and sustainable agriculture in Europe, argues that association. It claims that by including soy in the crop rotation, farmers reduce the risk of plant diseases occurring, leading to a reduced need for pesticides. Soy binds nitrogen in the soil, which also reduces the use of fertilizers, it says.

Switzerland signs up to European Soy Declaration

Meanwhile, Switzerland has become the 19th country to sign the European Soy Declaration. It did so late last month.

Through that initiative, which was launched by the German and Hungarian Ministries of Agriculture in July 2017, European states undertake to cooperate in the promotion of the cultivation of protein crops. Some 14 countries including Italy, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Romania and Finland signed the declaration in 2017. Four other countries, Montenegro, Moldova, Kosovo and Macedonia, signed up to the initiative in 2018.  

Donau Soja said Switzerland shows that, even with a low demand volume, a market can play a major strategic role. It added that as the initiator of the Basel Criteria and the only country in the world to exclusively import sustainable, certified and non-GMO soy, Switzerland has played an important role worldwide in the development of a sustainable soy value chain.

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