Process Management

News last update:7 Aug 2012

GM-feeds can move faster into EU

The procedures for importation of transgenic materials into Europe can be condensed with the precaution that safety for the environment and humans is guaranteed.

Eurocommissioner Androulla Vassiliou (Health and Consumer affairs) affirmed this at a meeting of the European parliament.

On the initiative of the agriculture commission the subject of the effect of the current GM-import policy for the feed industry was discussed.

Vassiliou recognised several options to speed up the access of GM materials:

  • Applicants can be better informed regarding specific dossier requirements;
  • A first investigation of feed authority Efsa may no longer take than six weeks;
  • Member states can also contribute to a fast procedure.
Several parties already have advocated a threshold value for GM ingredients that are not allowed in the EU. Up until now a zero-tolerance policy is in place.

This makes feed raw materials more expensive, because it is more and more difficult to keep feedstuffs GM-free. And in contrary, meat of animals fed GM-feed is free to enter the EU.

GM feed varieties which have not been approved in the EU can be found in 90% of meat imported to the EU.

According to EU figures, the current price difference between GMO and non-GMO feed is around £50 (€65) per tonne.

Consumers have no idea
"It is a great irony that we import poultry, pig and beef meet from outside the EU from animals fed on products we deny our own farmers. This helps no-one, consumers have no idea whether their meat has been fed on GM and farmers have to pay through the nose for feed," said Neil Parish, chairman of the European Parliament agriculture committee.

 "I am not suggesting a free for all on GM, but we must ensure that any threshold is fair and achievable for non GM feed. With new varieties of GM soy being planted around the world, it will be virtually impossible to guarantee that any shipment into the EU is truly GM-free. I doubt anyone will bother sending GM-free shipments to the EU as a result and this will make non-GM feed even scarcer and more expensive for our farmers," said Parish.

Vassiliou in her opening speech said she wants to look for a solution, however, without changing current legislation. This will face a lot of opposition of too many member states. For decades Europe is hopelessly divided on genetically modified organisms.

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