Feed sector bodies slam EC over five-month GM approval delay

Europe’s feed sector organisations have urged the European Commission (EC) to give its approval for three GM soya bean products, complaining bitterly that the items have been in the EU “pending” tray since January this year, despite being accepted by the European Food Safety Authority (efsa) in 2015.

The feed sector complaint is contained in a sharply-worded letter sent to EC president, Jean-Claude Juncker, by COCERAL, FEDIOL and FEFAC, the EU’s leading feed trade and manufacturing organisations.

“The authorisation of these GM traits has now become critical to ensure the viability of food and feed supplies into the EU while providing the necessary legal certainty to business operators,” it is stated in the letter to president Juncker.

“We therefore ask you to finalise the authorisation procedure for these three events as a matter of urgency.”

The three organisations also warn that the EU cannot afford to ignore the global dimension of commodities trading and supplies, given that some of the GM traits, which the EC is holding up, are already authorised and/or commercialised in key exporting regions to the EU.

“The EU relies on imports from third countries to cover 75% of its use of protein-rich ingredients for animal feeding purposes, of which soya meal is the preferred source,” they state.

“In the absence of a rapid final decision, EU traders may be forced to restrict vital imports of soya due to the increasing risk of finding traces of GM traits yet to be authorised in the EU, which would negatively affect supplies of both GM and non-GM, which in return will only further exacerbate the long-persisting market crisis in key EU livestock sectors.”

The three organisations also point out that the EC has “failed” during the last five months to provide sound and scientifically justified reasons for the ongoing delay.

“This failure to either grant the authorisations or indeed provide the required evidence as to why the authorisations cannot be progressed,” they add, “prevents us from providing a reasoned and predictable outlook to our member companies and trading partners as to whether soya supplies will be available from North America in the autumn for the EU market.”

COCERAL is the European association of trade in cereals, rice, feedstuffs oilseeds, olive oil, oils and fats and agrosupply, with member associations in 18 countries.

FEDIOL represents the interests of the European vegetable oils and protein meal industry, with member businesses processing approximately 56 million tonnes of basic products a year for the food and non-food markets.

FEFAC is the European Compound Feed Manufacturers’ Federation, with member organisations in 23 EU member states, as well as associations in Switzerland, Turkey, Croatia, Serbia, Russia and Norway.

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