FEFAC, COCERAL and FEDOIL said it could lead to a 10% increase in feed costs for E.U. livestock farmers in opt-out countries where GMO soy would need to be replaced with non-GMO soy.
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — The European feed industry faced an extraordinarily challenging 2015-16, according to the European Compound Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC) annual report. 

Prices of pig meat suffered because of oversupply and dairy farmers were faced with the lifting of E.U. milk quotas. FEFAC said it has called on the European Commission to remove non-tariff trade barriers.

“Unfortunately we have witnessed political uncertainties challenge the very foundation of the internal market,” said FEFAC President Ruud Tijssens. 

The European Commission has kept the ‘opt-out’ proposal for approved GMO food and feed products, which could cause disruptions of the market. FEFAC, COCERAL and FEDOIL said it could lead to a 10% increase in feed costs for E.U. livestock farmers in opt-out countries where GMO soy would need to be replaced with non-GMO soy.

“We have repeatedly stated that there is no need for this proposal as the feed industry already provides solutions to fulfill the demand for non-GMO feed through segregated supply chains,” Tijssens said. 

The commission also continued to delay decisions on GMO food and feed approvals, he said. 

FEFAC Preisdent Ruud Tijseens
Ruud Tijssens, FEFAC president.
“It is of crucial important that the E.U. feed and livestock sector remains competitive and continues to have access to global feed supplies to maintain market predictability as the basis for our livestock farmer so they can capture their fair share in very dynamic global markets for animal products,” Tijssens said in the report.

In the report, FEFAC outlined its 2030 Vision of the E.U. Feed Industry based on three pillars: feed safety, animal nutrition and sustainability. 

Knowledge in animal nutrition lets feed manufacturers help livestock farmers keep their animals healthy. Also thanks to this knowledge, there is high value feed use of co-products that result from industrial processes such as oilseed crushing, wheat milling, sugar extraction and beer production, FEFAC said. 

The spread of antimicrobial resistance is one of the greatest challenges to human health in modern history. Through improved animal nutrition strategies that maintain animal gut health and foster resistance to diseases, the feed industry can play a crucial role in prevention strategies of livestock farmers who seek to reduce the need for medication at farm level, FEFAC said. 

Climate change is another tremendous challenge, especially taking into account the pressure on available feed resources and further globalization trade in animal products. The feed industry has the capacities to make livestock farming more resource efficient, thereby reducing the GHG emissions and other environmental impacts from the animal food chain.

The license to operate for the feed industry is feed safety; there can be no compromise, FEFA said. In this aspect, the feed industry delivers a valuable service to livestock farmers by safely and professionally handling substances with a higher risk profile and adequately performing in-depth safety assessments. 

The feed industry is fully committed to staying ahead of the game and prevent feed contaminations from spreading through the food chain. FEFAC compiles the practical examples of cooperation between the private and public sector in the domain of feed safety management in an effort to encourage the exchange of data and information on existing and emerging risks across all E.U. member states.