BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — E.U. food, feed and farm groups again urged the E.U. commission on Oct. 17 to not delay authorization of new varieties of genetically modified (GM) grain.
Copa-Cogeca, representing European farmers and cooperatives; COCERAL, which represents the trade in cereals, rice, feedstuffs, oilseeds, olive oil, oils and fats and agrosupply; FEDIOL, the federation representing the European Vegetable Oil and Proteinmeal Industry in Europe; the European Feed Manufacturers' Federation (FEFAC), Uecbv and A.v.e.c., urged the E.U. commission not to delay authorization of eight new varieties of genetically modified grain for import, food and feed processing which have scientifically proved to be safe, to avoid a further threat to the E.U. food and feed supply and market balance, warning they are especially essential for the livestock industry.
Any further delays by the E.U. will result in a suicidal situation for European growth and will leave the E.U. food and feed business operators exposed to a possible risk of disruptions in the vital supply of soybeans, maize and various protein-rich products derived thereof. Regardless of whether they are genetically modified or not, consignments of grain imported to the E.U. could be halted at the borders if the authorization process is postponed, the groups said. This will trigger further uncertainty about market balance, supply chain disruptions and price hikes for basic food products and major feed ingredients as well as undermine the competitiveness of the E.U. food, feed and livestock sectors, they said.
Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General said, “If the outgoing commission postpones authorization of these crops, it could cause uncertainty about feed supplies in the E.U. Livestock farmers are already suffering from trade bans, particularly the Russian embargo. We cannot jeopardize their livelihoods by adding uncertainty about the market stability for feedstuff. Supplies are critical to the E.U. livestock industry and there are real dangers that the livestock industry will be drastically damaged due to a lack of raw material supplies. Overall, the E.U. is 78% dependent on imported vegetable proteins necessary also for the animal welfare. The E.U. livestock industry could consequently face a massive loss of competitiveness, unless the process for import approvals for new GM varieties continues. Moreover, Copa-Cogeca has just confirmed a bumper E.U. cereals harvest this year up 6.1% on last year levels which needs to be exported. This will only be possible if traders are not reluctant to come to the E.U.”