Soya supply warning from Defra

Over-reliance on soya imports from Brazil and Argentina could have serious adverse effects on the UK livestock industry, a Defra and Food Standards Agency report has said.

The study reports that with the increase in GM soya cultivation in the main exporting countries, the UK feed and food sectors are worried that it will become impossible to maintain the current non-GM soya supply chain.

The report said: Under a worst case scenario, where there are no soya imports from either Argentina and Brazil, the impact would be very significant. There would be a major increase in feed costs (300%+), a significant reduction in pig (24-29%) and poultry (10-68%) production, a reduction in UK meat exports, increase in meat imports, and a marked increase in meat prices (e.g. possible range 9-20% for poultry meat, and much higher for pig meat).

The follow-up report also concludes that there is a need for a robust and rigorous safety assessment for GM and that the UK needs to be more self-sufficient in protein supplies for animal feed rather than importing from abroad.

Demands from the EU differ to those from third countries with respect to the GM varieties grown, and which are authorised for import into the EU. This could potentially cause problems where low level adventitious presence of non-EU authorised GM varieties in imports of GM and non-GM feed would result in the entire consignment being illegal under the EC regulatory framework, said the study.

The European Commission has now launched an evaluation of the EU legislative framework on GM food and feed which will not be concluded until next year.

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