November 26, 2018

Over one million tonnes of European animal feed possibly contaminated by banned GMOs


Banned genetically modified organisms (GMOs) found in a vitamin-based additive may likely have found their way into over one million tonnes of animal feed in Europe, according to French newspaper Le Monde.


Based on a memo issued by health authorities in the Netherlands, eight tonnes of a vitamin B2 additive produced by a genetically modified strain of the Bacillus subtilis bacteria had been sold in Poland, Italy and the Netherlands between April and June, Le Monde reported.


Known as riboflavim (80%) and used in feed for cattle, pigs and poultry, the additive was produced by Chinese company Shandong and distributed by Dutch company Trouw Nutrition. Consignments of the product, Dutch authorities said, had reached France, Norway, Russia, Finland and Iceland.


As a small amount of the additive is used, the amount of feed potentially affected could range between 800,000 to 1.6 million tonnes, Dutch authorities said. In Poland, about 2,500 kilogrammes were already used in feed.  


Le Monde's revelation came two months after the European Commission withdrew the vitamin's authorisation and ordered it be withdrawn from sale by November 10.


The product presented a risk for both animals and humans, the European Food Safety Authority said. The organisation added that the additive contained genetically modified genes that could resist antibiotics "of human and veterinary importance."


In the meantime, a Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed had been activated, said an European Commission spokeswoman, who did not disclose the countries targeted nor the quantity of the additive that has been traced.


She emphasised that it was the responsibility of EU member states "to ensure that unauthorised products are not found on the market" and to punish those who violate the ban.


- Le Monde / AFP