EU: GM feed restrictions needs reviewing
The EU's system for importing poultry and other livestock feeds made
from genetically modified (GM) crops has been slammed as "fundamentally
unbalanced and discriminatory".
It is reported that the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and
Rural Development chairman Neil Parish believes that this is the case. He has
asked the European Commission to review its zero-tolerance regime on imported
feed stuffs containing traces of GM soya or maize. With the power to veto or
even dismiss the commission, the Parliament has emerged as an important ally for
livestock farmers who have to pay more for feeds because of import
Ireland hit the hardest
According to the Irish
Examiner, Irish farmers are worst affected because they rely more on imports of
animal feed than any other EU country, with more than 50% of animal feed
Ironically, though, Ireland is one of the member
states restricting feed imports. Their votes against GM animal feeds in EU
committees such as the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health
reflect 58% opposition to GM organisms among EU citizens. Parish reportedly
stated that EU consumers are offered imported meats, 90% of which come from
animals fed on GM crops, many of which are unapproved in the
Livestock farmers in Europe have to compete against these imports
without access to millions of tonnes of GM feeds from the US, Canada, Brazil and
Non-approved GM contamination rejected
pointed out that any container arriving in an EU port from these countries, with
even a trace of non-approved GM contamination, may be sent back.
Meanwhile, farmers and feed millers in Ireland had to wait 34 months for
Herculex maize to be approved for import into the EU â€” more than 50 varieties of
GM feed await approval.
100% GM-free feed impossible
has asked the commission to speed up its approval for new varieties of GM feed
deemed safe by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). "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," commented Parish.
"We also have to address the zero tolerance
issue. I am not suggesting a free-for-all on GM, but we must ensure any
threshold is fair and achievable for non-GM feed. With new varieties of GM soya
being planted around the world, it will be virtually impossible to guarantee 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 farmersâ€¦ If the EU does not take urgent
action, we are in danger of exporting much of our industry outside of the EU,"
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