EU commissioner worried about animal feed shortage
Farmers' groups have warned EU authorities they face a “serious shortage” of livestock feed in a matter of weeks because of the EU's zero tolerance policy of unapproved GMOs in imported feed and foodstuffs.
Farmers foresee an alarming shortage of animal feed because a handful of countries are blocking the approval of genetically modified crops, EU agriculture commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel has said.
On Monday she told agriculture ministers that breaking an impasse of GMO applications would throw a lifeline to dairy and pig farmers who face high prices for non-GM feed.
Cost of raising livestock will increase by almost €1bn in only non-GM feed is allowed, said European Farmers Organisation.
The EU annually uses 33.5 million tonnes of soybean meal of which two-th8irds is imported.
Already 200,000 tonnes of US soybeans have been blocked at EU ports this year because they contained trace amounts of two varieties of GM maize that have been declared safe by the commission’s scientific arm, but not yet approved by member states.
The UK and the Netherlands, supporters of GMOs, were among a group of eight member states that expressed support for Fischer Boel’s remarks. Austria and Poland expressed scepticism.
Opposition from a handful of EU member states has repeatedly stalled the final approval of GMO products that have otherwise been cleared by the European Food Safety Authority, the EU’s scientific advisory arm.
The commission says continued resistance to GMOs could see European farmers lose market share to imported GM-fed meat.
Eventually meat production could become so expensive in the EU that competition against imported meat is lost and European producers go out of business.
Then meat could be imported from countries that feed the animals GMOs not approved int the EU.
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