September 17, 2008


EU feed industry in need of more GM soy approvals



Europe needs to grant a quick import approval of GM soy to help ensure supplies of raw protein material for producing animal feed, the EU's leading feedmakers association said on Tuesday.


EU's executive Commission issued a rubberstamp approval early September, permitted under EU law when ministers fail to agree after a certain period of time, for imports of GM soy made by Germany's Bayer CropScience.


The soy is a second-generation product designed for higher yields and also to resist Monsanto's own Roundup Ready glyphosate herbicide.


Calling the Bayer soy approval "a first step" to avoid a major feed supply disruption, industry federation FEFAC says the EU's next move is to allow imports of high-yield soy made by US biotech company Monsanto.


FEFAC Secretary-General Alexander Doering commented that it remains of major concern to them that they will probably not have a timely approval of the Roundup Ready 2 event before the new-crop harvest begins in the US, where they must expect trace levels due to seed multiplication.


While the EU has approved a string of GM products by default rubberstamps since 2004, it does not permit the presence of any other GMO on EU territory, even in tiny amounts, until the EU approval for that product is granted.


For major GM crop-growing countries like the US, Canada and Argentina, that policy has led to cargoes of rice and grain arriving at EU ports being impounded if samples taken by local authorities show the presence of unauthorized GM material.


FEFAC has long been pushing for the European Commission to do something about "zero tolerance" so that the problem of trace amounts of non-approved soy or corn is avoided. While the Commission has said it will find a technical solution to what is known as "low-level presence", nothing has yet happened.


Doering said that the tremendously expanding GM pipeline around the world being nearly impossible to monitor is what worries them.


The risk of trace amounts of Monsanto's Roundup Ready soy being found in cargoes destined for Europe was probably higher than for Bayer's Liberty Link product, mainly due to seed multiplication over a larger sowing area, he said.