The European Commission has sidelined a proposal to soften its zero tolerance on imports of unapproved genetically modified crops, for fear of the controversy such a measure would cause, an insider told Agrimoney.com.
"Even if it was agreed at commission level, the difference of opinion [over GM] in EU member states would make this very difficult," the source said. "It has been put on the backburner for the foreseeable future."
The move dashes the hopes of feed groups who had viewed some tolerance of genetically modified crops as the best way of lifting the threat of a "total loss" of US soybean imports to Europe after traces of an unapproved GM corn were found in shipments to Germany and Spain.
Traces not to avoid
"What is zero – that is what this boils down to," Alexander Döring, the secretary general of Fefac, the European Compound Feed Manufacturers’ Federation, said.
"GM crops are so widespread through the world. Whether through [contamination through] agriculture practices or transport, if you want to look for traces of it, you will find it."
He said that he was hoping that the EU would repeat for GM crops concessions made to banned veterinary antibiotics, which were now allowed at trace levels.
Attempting to get legislation through could take two years, which was untenable given the need to secure feed supplies before animals are taken in for the winter.
Soybean meal is the "lifeline" of Europe’s livestock industry, Döring said, warning that without it there would be "no" compound feed.