E.U. feed groups acknowledge GMO 'technical solution'

by World Grain Staff
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BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — COCERAL, FEDIOL and FEFAC on July 18 acknowledge the entry into force of the “technical solution” for minute traces of GMOs not yet authorized in the E.U.

The groups said “technical solution” will help reduce the likelihood of a disruption in feed supplies by boosting legal certainty for animal feed imports into Europe.

The “technical solution” allows up to 0.1% of not yet authorized GM material in the E.U., for which a dossier is pending with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). This more pragmatic approach takes account of the dynamics of international trade and allows European farmers continued access to vital protein feed imports.

COCERAL, FEDIOL and FEFAC have called for additional actions towards more comprehensive solutions in order to prevent imminent feed and food supply and trade problems. Key exporting countries are no longer prepared to await full E.U. approval of GM crops before authorizing their cultivation on their territory. This will increase the likelihood of new trade blockages at E.U. level in the new crop season 2011-12.

First, the scope of the solution must be enlarged rapidly to include food. The number of GM events commercially cultivated worldwide is predicted to increase from about 30 today to over 130 by 2014, according to the European Commissions’ Research Joint Research Centre.

Many of these products could find their way into the European food and feed supply chain, and it is therefore important that a practical threshold level for GM products not yet authorized in the E.U. is set. Many E.U. member states have indicated support for the inclusion of food in the scope of the technical solution.

Second, longer-term solutions need to be sought to this ever-increasing challenge for feed and food security in the E.U. Such solutions include more efficient and rapid advancing of GM products through the E.U. authorization system, in order to be synchronized with exporting countries’ authorizations.

The majority of delays in the E.U. system are caused by political hold-ups in the E.U. decision-making process. It is crucial for the food and feed chain to improve the timeliness and efficiency of the E.U. authorization system, which is feasible without detracting from the integrity of the risk assessment process.

It is important that the European Commission and member states take proactive steps towards a low level presence policy adopting a more comprehensive long-term strategy to managing GMOs in the commodity supply chain. Such a strategy would consider:

  • the ongoing acceleration of authorizations around the world,
  • anticipation of the rapid uptake of new GM varieties around the world,
  • the E.U. dependence on imports of raw materials for use in food and feed, consideration of the current and future financial burden for the EU feed and food chain of not undertaking action.
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