BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — Substituting genetically modified (GM) soy with non-GM soy would lead to an increase in feed costs of about 10%, according to an economic impact assessment of the E.U. Commission’s GM “opt-out” proposal released on Oct. 20. The assessment was completed by COCERAL, FEDIOL and FEFAC, representing commodity collection and trade, oilseed crushing and compound feed manufacturing.

The study assesses the potential implications for the feed and livestock sector in four E.U. member states potentially opting out from GM authorization (i.e., France, Germany, Hungary and Poland). It has been conducted on the basis of literature review coupled with industry and expert opinion from the three European sector organizations.

Nutritional and farming reasons dictate that not all soy in feed can be replaced by alternative protein sources. The bulk of soy (currently, GM) in feed would therefore need to be substituted with non-GM soy with a premium, set between €44 per tonne and €176 per tonne (i.e., 15% - 50% of the value of the product). The assessment finds that substituting GM soy with non-GM soy would lead to an increase in feed costs of around 10% for the livestock sector, €1.2 billion in the four potentially opting out countries or €2.8 billion for the E.U. livestock sector if all E.U. countries would opt out.

This would irremediably affect the competitive position of the livestock industry in these countries, both in their domestic markets and respective export destinations, according to the assessment. The limited demand for non-GM fed animal products on the global market would prevent demand adaptation in case of supply reduction, which, coupled with the extra costs of non-GM supply chains, would inevitably lead to the closure of livestock holdings in opting-out countries. In the long-term, this loss of competitiveness would have negative repercussions on the supply chain from farm to manufacturing, putting jobs in E.U. rural areas at serious risk.

Click here to read the complete study.