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NFU Says New GM Rule in Feed is Inadequate

by 5m Editor
23 February 2011, at 9:06am

UK - An EU agreement to relax the rules governing feed imports with traces of genetically modified materials is a step in the direction but does not go far enough, the NFU has said.

The EU’s Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health has said that up to 0.1 per cent of non-EU approved GM should be allowed in feed imports.

Ideally, such a step should take some of the pressure out of animal feed costs.

However, the NFU fears the long-awaited change may not have much impact on the ground.

NFU Director of Policy Martin Haworth said: “The change only applies to the presence of material for which EU import licences have been applied, but not yet approved. Increasingly companies are simply not bothering to apply for licences in the EU - particularly for maize - since the process is long and costly and the major markets are in Asia not Europe.

“The new rules also only apply to imports destined for feed, not food, when you can’t always tell the final destination of maize.

“Finally, the GM material has to be one that has not been identified by the European Food Safety Authority as being susceptible to having adverse effects. We do not know how this will work, but there is a clear potential here for more delays and bottle-necks.

“As GM acreages increase globally, and new varieties come onto the market, there needs to be a pragmatic and workable system in place to deal with the traces of unintended GM material found in globally-traded bulk commodities such as soybeans and maize.

“Unless we find an effective solution to this issue we risk making the whole of the European livestock industry uncompetitive over time.”

Until now Europe’s zero tolerance approach to GM crops has restricted feed imports from countries where non-EU approved GM crops are widely grown – most notably in North and South America.

That has meant that shipments of feed could be refused entry into the EU.

Further Reading

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