EU rules for GM could drive up meat prices
The UK government recently warned that consumers could face huge meat price rises if the EU does not find a more efficient method of approving new GM products.
In a joint Defra/FSA statement, the government said the slow rate of EU approvals for GM products and the absence of any tolerance for low levels of unauthorised GM material could seriously hamper UK food and feed imports and ultimately hit retail prices.
The UK imports 90% of its soya feed for meat production from Brazil and Argentina, which amounted to three million tonnes in 2007/08. However, as Brazil and Argentina develop new types of GM crop and the availability of non-GM feed becomes scarcer, those countries could be forced to turn to other markets if the EU fails to clear the new crops.
In the worst-case scenario, in which there were no soya imports from Argentina or Brazil, Defra said consumers would face a 20% increase in poultry prices, and an even greater rise in the price of pigmeat,.
Though it stressed safety must not be compromised, the UK government is now planning to lobby the EU to create a more streamlined decision-making process for GM products. It is also arguing for a reconsideration of EU policy over the presence of low levels of non-EU approved GMOs in bulk-traded commodities.
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