GM approvals top NFU Scotland wish list

THE same thinking that led to the cultivation of a new GM potato should be applied to GM tolerance thresholds, GM authorisations and animal transport laws.

The call has been made in a letter to the new EU Health and Consumer Commissioner John Dalli, from the president of NFU Scotland Jim McLaren.

He said the zero tolerance threshold for the presence of unauthorised GM material in imported feed was leading to rising costs, particularly for soya, which was not grown on a large enough scale in the EU to meet the livestock industry’s requirements.

Another part of the problem was the two year authorisation process to approve any new GM varieties for import.

Because any shipments found with low levels of unapproved GM were sent packing, Mr McLaren said feed costs were rising and leaving EU farmers at a competitive disadvantage.

“In recent weeks, however, there has been speculation the European Commission may be preparing to propose a threshold for the presence of unauthorised GMs in imports, namely soya for animal feed,” said Mr McLaren.

He said NFUS would ‘wholly support’ the introduction of an appropriate threshold, along with speeding up the process of authorising new GM varieties for both importation and cultivation.

Turning to animal transport regulations, Mr McLaren said the Commission’s draft proposals, likely to call for more stringent regulations, were a knee-jerk reaction to the fact the current Regulation was not being properly enforced in parts of mainland Europe.

He said the EU should not introduce more regulations but concentrate on enforcing the current Regulation properly.  

Mr McLaren said unacceptable failings were still occurring with animal transport across mainland Europe and, in a bid to resolve this, the union had developed a working document outlining a pilot project to test new ways of using satellite surveillance to ensure all EU member states met the regulation.

He said hoped to meet Commissioner Dalli soon to discuss the potential of that scheme before any new proposals were developed any further.  

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