Parish calls for GM feed relaxation

The influential chair of the European Parliament's agriculture committee has called for the European Union (EU) to relax its zero-tolerance ban on imports of animal feed contaminated with GM material.

In a formal question to the European Commission, British Conservative MEP Neil Parish warned of a "rising number of incidents", where feed cargoes have been turned away from EU ports because of the accidental "presence of traces of genetically modified crops not yet authorised in the EU", but approved for use in Europe's major trading partners. He warned that the tough policy was "likely to result in ever higher feeding stuff prices in the EU", noting that "given the high import dependency of the EU for protein-rich feeding stuffs (eg soybean meal, corn gluten feed)", the competitiveness of the European livestock sector was at risk.

Parish asked whether the Commission had considered a more flexible system, where a certain small level of accidental GM contamination be permitted for GM material in feed yet to receive formal EU market authorisation. This should only happen, he stressed, if such GM material had already received a positive assessment from the European Food Safety Authority, or had received a feed and food safety risk assessment under UN Codex Alimentarius procedures.

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