Farming and food groups urge EU not to delay allowing new GM varieties

Copa-Cogeca, Coceral, Fediol, Fefac, Uecbv and A.v.e.c., urged the EU Barroso Commission today not to delay authorization of 8 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 EU food and feed supply and market balance, warning they are especially essential for the livestock industry.

Any further delays by the EU Commission will result in a suicidal situation for European growth and will leave the EU 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 EU could be halted at the borders if the authorization process is postponed. 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 EU food, feed and livestock sectors.

Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen warned “If the outgoing Commission postpones authorization of these crops, it could cause uncertainty about feed supplies in the EU. Livestock farmers are already suffering from trade bans, particularly the Russian embargo. We cannot jeopardise their livelihoods by adding uncertainty about the market stability for feedstuffs. Supplies are critical to the EU 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 EU is 78% dependent on imported vegetable proteins necessary also for the animal welfare. The EU 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 EU 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 EU”

“Hesitations about new GM products may really bite economically, which is particular serious in the current economic crisis, and markets will be de-stabilised”, he concluded.

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