European feed and ingredient organizations react to implementation of new GM rules

COCERAL, FEDIOL and FEFAC acknowledge entry into force of technical solution as a first step. More comprehensive action needed to avoid supply disruptions
July 18, 2011

Brussels - COCERAL, FEDIOL and FEFAC acknowledge the entry into force of the “technical solution” for minutes traces of GMOs not yet authorized in the EU. The “technical solution” will help reducing the likelihood of a disruption in feed supplies by boosting legal certainty for animal feed imports into Europe. The “technical solution” allows up to 0.1% of not yet authorized GM material in the EU, for which a dossier is pending with EFSA. This more pragmatic approach takes account of the dynamics of international trade and allows European farmers continued access to vital protein feed imports. Different maize products (4 million tons imported in 2008-09 season) and soybean products (33 million tons in soya meal equivalents in 2008-09 season), imported mainly from Argentina, Brazil and the US, are an essential supplement for the EU's livestock sector.

COCERAL, FEDIOL and FEFAC call for additional actions towards more comprehensive solutions in order to prevent imminent feed and food supply and trade problems. Key exporting countries are no longer prepared to await full EU approval of GM crops before authorizing their cultivation on their territory. This will increase the likelihood of new trade blockages at EU level in the new crop season 2011/2012.

First, the scope of the solution must be enlarged rapidly to include food. The number of GM events commercially cultivated worldwide is predicted to increase from about 30 today to over 130 by 2014, according to the European Commissions’ Research Joint Research Centre. Many of these products could find their way into the European food and feed supply chain, and it is therefore important that a practical threshold level for GM products not yet authorized in the EU is set. Many EU Member States have indicated support for the inclusion of food in the scope of the technical solution.

Second, longer-term solutions need to be sought to this ever-increasing challenge for feed and food security in the EU. Such solutions include more efficient and rapid advancing of GM products through the EU authorization system, in order to be synchronized with exporting countries’ authorizations. The majority of delays in the EU system are caused by political hold-ups in the EU decision-making process. It is crucial for the food and feed chain to improve the timeliness and efficiency of the EU authorization system, which is feasible without detracting from the integrity of the risk assessment process.

It is important that the European Commission and Member States take proactive steps towards a low level presence policy adopting a more comprehensive long-term strategy to managing GMOs in the commodity supply chain. Such a strategy would consider:
- the ongoing acceleration of authorizations around the world,
- anticipation of the rapid uptake of new GM varieties around the world,
- the EU dependence on imports of raw materials for use in food and feed,
- consideration of the current and future financial burden for the EU feed and food chain of not undertaking action.

COCERAL is the voice of the European cereals, rice, feedstuffs, oilseeds, olive oil, oils and fats and agrosupply trade. Its members are the national trade organisations of most of the EU-27 Member States, who represent collectors, distributors, exporters, importers and agribulk storers of the above mentioned commodities.

FEDIOL represents the interests of the European vegetable oils and proteinmeal industry. With about 150 facilities in Europe the sector provides 20.000 direct employments. Its members process 30 million tonnes of basic products a year and the EU industry serves the second largest world market of vegetable oils after China.

FEFAC is the European Feed Manufacturers' Federation. The European compound feed industry employs over 110,000 persons on around 4,500 production sites often in rural areas, which offer few employment opportunities. Farm animals in the EU-27 consume an estimated 470 million tonnes of feed a year, of which 150 million tonnes are produced by the compound feed manufacturers. Turnover of the European compound feed industry is estimated at €40 billion. ]