EU urged to lift GM feed ban

European farmers are calling on the EU to relax its zero-tolerance policy on GMOs in animal feed.

Copa-Cogeca warned without urgent action to allow a 0.1 per cent maximum threshold for non-approved GMOs, feed costs will put many EU livestock farmers out of business.

In the longer term, Copa-Cogeca also wants to see the EU’s own protein supply developed further to reduce its dependence on imported soybean.

This could include the reintroduction of processed animal proteins.

The organisation is urging member states to agree the new maximum GMO threshold arguing that the EU is 80 per cent dependent on imports of vegetable proteins for which there are no short term substitutes.

Given the bulk handling of grains in international trade, compliance with a zero tolerance policy for LLP (low level presence) of unauthorised material is impossible. Cop-Cogeca called for the matter to be discussed in the Permanent Committee for Biotechnology today (Tuesday, February 8).

However, as these raw materials are used in both the animal feed and human food chain, it would be best to find a technical solution for both, it says.

Without a new draft regulation allowing at minimum the presence of non-authorised GMOs in feed up until a maximum threshold of 0.1 per cent it could cost EU farmers hundreds of millions of euros. For the winter period 2009-2010, Wageningen university has assessed the overall cost at 1 billion euros for 6 months.

Copa-Cogeca secretary-general Pekka Pesonen said: “At a time when most EU livestock producers are facing serious economic losses, some EU opposition to finding a practical threshold for trace levels of not yet EU authorised GM plants in imported feed will drive EU livestock farmers and feed operators out of business.”

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