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Zero-tolerance Could Make Pig Farming Untenable

by 5m Editor
13 July 2009, at 10:54am

EU - High prices and supply bottlenecks in Europe due to the low-level-presence of non-authorised GM grains may force livestock farmers to relocate outside the European Union, according to a new study from the European Union’s Joint Research Centre.

The Global Pipeline of New GM Crops investigates the trade implications of asynchronous approvals of GM crops. This is where countries around the world approve GMs at different times, making it impossible for shippers to comply with zero-tolerance rules, such as exist in the European Union.

Zero-tolerance has seen the price of November-April soya rise 315 this week.

Currently only 30 or so GMOs are cultivated worldwide. The situation will be much more difficult by 2015, when some 120 GM crops are expected to be available and approved in many parts of the world, warns the report.

Participants in the study suggest solutions such as a low level marketing threshold (where a small quantity of non-approved GMin consignments would be permissible) and streamlining the regulatory system so there is mutual recognition of risk assessments and guidelines.

The latest case of zero-tolerance causing grains to be rejected at the European Union border involves unauthorised GM maize in a consignment of soyameal from the United States.

The maize in question is MON88017. The European Food Safety Authority says it is safe but its proposed authorisation will not be put to Europe’s Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health until July 22 — and so may not be approved in the European Union until the end of the year.

Some leading grain traders have said they will no longer ship soya from North America to the European Union as the risk of shipments being blocked is too serious.

As stocks in Argentina and Brazil, the two main sources of soya, are significantly lower than last year, feed industry representatives have warned that European Union feed prices may increase significantly at very short notice.

The Brussels health and consumer affairs directorate was supposed to come up with a technical solution to this problem but apart from statements about accelerating the approvals procedure, nothing has been published and nothing is expected this summer.

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