The European Commission has called for amended legislation that would allow member states to restrict or prohibit use of EU-authorized genetically modified organisms (GMO) for animal feed or human food consumption, according to a report on ThePigSite.
“The Commission has listened to the concerns of many European citizens, reflected in the positions expressed by their national governments. Once adopted, this proposal will grant member states a greater say as regards the use of EU-authorized GMOs in food and feed in their respective territories,” said Vytenis Andriukaitis, health and food safety commissioner.
The Scottish National Farmers Union (NFU) argues that allowing individual Member States the final voice in the use of genetic modified (GM) products in animal feed would be disruptive and costly while damaging competitiveness across the entire supply chain.
“The price differential between GMO and GMO-free animal feed is already around 30% with extremely limited supplies of non-GMO feeds,” said Allan Bowie, president, NFU Scotland, at a meeting of COPA in Lisbon, Portugal.
With limited growing options for animal feed proteins in Europe, the livestock sector relies heavily on imported feed grains. Currently, an estimated 90% of the compound feed for the livestock sector contains GMO material.
“Pig and poultry sectors are especially vulnerable, where feed is 55-65% of production costs,” remarked Helen Ferrier, PhD, NFU chief science and regulatory affairs advisor.
Farmers’ representatives argue that the practical and logistical difficulties of the proposal would make it extremely disruptive and costly, if not impossible, to implement.
“These new proposed GM recommendations would seriously compromise many member states’ ability to produce pig and poultry meat, leading to greater imports from outside the EU,” Ferrier added.