Bitter blow as GM feed vote is delayed
THE ongoing delay in introducing ‘sensible’ tolerance levels for the detection of non-EU approved GM varieties in animal feed imports has been described as ‘a blow against scientific evidence and common sense’.
Under the European Commission current zero-tolerance policy, the discovery of any such contamination in a shipload of feed material, regardless of the level found, results in rejection of the whole load.
Following discussions which started in October 2008, Europe finally brought forward a proposal last November which would see a tolerance threshold of 0.1 percent introduced where specific criteria were met.
However, a European committee has again failed to secure the qualified majority required for its adoption, meaning the proposal will not be discussed again until late February, with France asking for further risk assessment work which could delay a decision even further.
But NFU Scotland believes while the current policy remains in place, the risk of such rejection will continue to add unnecessary extra cost to vegetable protein at a time when livestock producers are paying record prices for feed grains.
NFUS pigs and poultry policy manager Peter Loggie said: “This further delay in deciding on the presence of not-yet EU approved GM in feed shipments is a blow for the many Scottish farmers who rely on imported soya and maize as a protein source to feed their animals.
“Yet once again we find some member states ignoring science in favour of emotion by delaying a decision that would introduce a perfectly reasonable degree of tolerance for any not-yet EU approved GM found in feed shipments.
“They seem to forget the varieties we are discussing, while not approved for importation to the EU, are approved elsewhere in the world and are often being widely grown and used.
“There is no restriction on the importation of livestock products from third countries where the animals produced may have eaten a diet consisting entirely feed not yet approved for use here. Yet we had some members blocking a proposal that would have allowed feed shipments containing very low amounts of these unapproved varieties into the EU as animal feed.
“Given that Europe needs to import almost 80 percent of its protein requirements for livestock, this unnecessary zero tolerance approach will continue to heap costs onto livestock producers.”