European Union buyers have voluntarily stopped imports of US soybean meal, after traces of genetically modified maize were found in shipments, the Irish Examiner writes.
European trade sources said US soy shipments to Spain and Germany were found to have traces of GMO maize varieties which are prohibited in the EU.
A German trader told the Reuters news agency: "The shipments have been rejected at the EU borders, and have been consigned and recalled when already on the market within the EU, unless they have already been consumed."
After 50,000 tonnes of contaminated US soybean meal were unloaded and detained at Tarragona, Spain’s largest port, a spokesman for the Spanish Association of Cereal and Products Importers said: "That puts us all in an uncertain, risky trade situation, and that is most serious for the entire European Community, trade, livestock production and the economy."
Meanwhile, another cargo of soybean in the Spanish port of La Coruna awaited tests for genetically modified organisms.
The US Grain and Feed Trade Association estimates that 200,000 tonnes of US soy had been denied entry to the EU, by mid-July.
Given the uncertainty, international traders have ceased all further shipments. This has raised concerns about supplies of key feed ingredients for European livestock.
The EU took 475,900 tonnes of US soybean meal in the marketing year to last October. Shipments since then are 374,300 tonnes.
The import shutdown is most worrying for Ireland, which depends heavily on imported animal feed such as soy. Over 50% of animal feed ingredients are imported here, more than any other country in the EU.