Headlines: EU lifts ban on GM feed

Source: Farmers Guardian

BRITISH farmers could soon be given access to GM animal feed after the EU voted to relax its zero-tolerance policy to contaminated feed being imported into Europe.

It marks a step-change in the EU’s approach to GM, and comes following warnings of feed shortages and inflated prices, with importers increasingly wary of shipments being turned away from ports in the EU.

Europe currently imports around 80 per cent of its animal feed, much of it from GM growing countries in North and South America.

At a meeting this week, the EU’s Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH) agreed to allow up to 0.1 per cent of non-EU approved GM in feed imports.

Welcoming the decision, Scottish Liberal Democrat MEP George Lyon said: “It should help lower the costs of imported soya for hard pressed livestock farmers who are being hit by sharply rising feed costs.

“Farmers in the UK import approximately 2.2 million tonnes of soya every year and it is estimated by the industry that the zero tolerance threshold on imports was costing farmers an extra £50 per tonne which they can ill afford at this time.

“These changes should help put UK and Scottish farmers in a more competitive position and reduce costs once the benefits feed through.”

The NFU said the move was ‘a step in the right direction’ but warned more needed to be done to make it easier for importers.

NFU director of policy Martin Haworth said: “The change only applies to the presence of material for which EU import licences have been applied, but not yet approved.

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