The EU will approve imports of genetically modified (GM) soy produced by Bayer CropScience next week, in an effort to ease a shortage of animal feed, according to officials on Wednesday (September 3, 2008).
The rubber-stamp approval, permitted under EU law when ministers from all member states fail to agree after a certain time, will be valid for a standard 10 years and be granted by the European Commission on September 8, officials said.
The GM soy A2704-12 is developed to resist glufosinate herbicides and will be imported into the EU either as whole soy, oil or meal, and then be processed by EU companies for use in food and animal feed.
Its EU authorisation does not include cultivation in Europe.
The approval may also allow the Commission to avoid proposing a ceiling for amounts of unauthorised GM material condoned in imports, officials said.
Allowing imports of Bayer's GM soy, along with a few pending GM corn applications, should help to increase supply of raw material for animal feed, according to officials.
EU member states rarely agree on GM issues and discussions on authorising imports of new GM products usually end in deadlocks.
The EU's zero tolerance stance on unauthorised GM material has been a major headache for feed and livestock producers amid rising grain prices and declining non-GM grain supply.
EU, which is heavily dependent on imported soy, sources most of its soy from Argentina, Brazil and the US, the world's top three soy producers. However, these countries mainly grow GM varieties.