July 26, 2016
The European Commission has authorised three genetically modified soybeans for food and feed uses. These are soybean MON 87708 x MON 89788, soybean MON 87705 x MON 89788 and soybean FG 72).
The EC said all three GM organisms had gone through a comprehensive authorisation procedure, including a favourable scientific assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The authorisation does not cover cultivation.
According to the independent British pig industry news site Traffic Lights, the authorisation came as a relief to US exporters who had been waiting for it for over six months. The import bids for food and feed had been pending since Jan. 11, when member countries had failed to take a position on their approval at an appeals committee.
US soybean exporters are expected to start shipments into the EU via ports such as Rotterdam in mid-August.
The European Feed Manufacturers' Federation (Fefac), the oilseed crushers' association Fediol and the cereals industry group Coceral all lauded the approval of import authorisation for the three GM soybeans, but at the same time reiterated "the need for a robust, predictable EU GM import authorisation system providing legal certainty to operators to ensure vital protein supplies to the EU feed and livestock sector".
The three organisations lamented the absence of any explanation for the "extended delay" of the final decision that "has created undue uncertainty in export countries and at the level of importers, food and feed business operators".
They stressed that all market partners rely on a fully functioning EU regulatory framework, noting that the EU food, feed and livestock sector is 70% dependent on imports of protein-rich raw and feed materials.