June 10, 2016

10/06/2016: Viability of food and feed supplies into the EU under threat

An open letter sent out today by FEFAC, COCERAL & FEDIOL to Commissioner Juncker on 3 pending GM soybeans:

Dear President Juncker,

Three GM soya bean products (Genetically Modified Soybeans MON87705 x MON89788, MON87708 x MON89788 and FG72) have been pending for the final stage of the EU authorisation for import, food and feed uses and processing since the vote in the Appeal Committee on 11 January 2016, while this step regularly takes only one month. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) deemed the three GM products safe back in 2015.
The authorisation of these GM traits has now become critical to ensure the viability of food and feed supplies into the EU while providing the necessary legal certainty to business operators. COCERAL, FEDIOL and FEFAC therefore ask the President of the EU Commission to finalise the authorisation procedure for these three events as a matter of urgency.

The European Union cannot afford to ignore the global dimension of commodities trading and supplies: some of these GM traits are already authorised and/or commercialised in key exporting regions to the EU. In particular, the import approval of MON87708 x MON89788 in China, coupled with the early planting season in producing countries is very close to causing severe trade disruptions should this GM soybean not be authorised in the EU before the summer break.
The EU relies on imports from third countries to cover 75 percent of its use of protein-rich ingredients for animal feeding purposes, of which soybean meal is the preferred source. In absence of a rapid final decision, EU traders may be forced to restrict vital imports of soy due to the increasing risk of finding traces of GM traits yet to be authorised in the EU, which would negatively affect supplies of both GM and non-GM, which in return will only further exacerbate the long-persisting market crisis in key EU livestock sectors, e.g. the dairy and pig meat sectors.

COCERAL, FEDIOL and FEFAC note that the EU Commission has failed over the preceding 5 months to provide the sound and scientifically justified reasons for the ongoing delay (In its recent decision, the Ombudsman indicated that the Commission had not “given any reasonable explanation for an average delay of 3.5 months” for this last step, qualifying such a practice as ‘maladministration’). This failure to either grant the authorisations or indeed provide the required evidence as to why the authorisations cannot be progressed prevents us from providing a reasoned and predictable outlook to our member companies and trading partners as to whether soy supplies will be available from North America in the autumn for the EU market.
We urge the Commission President to deal with this as a request of authorisation as a matter of urgency, while remaining available for any additional market and trade information the EU college of Commissioners may require,
Thanking you in advance for the consideration and looking forward to hearing from you,
Sincerely yours
Teresa Babuscio
Secretary General
Nathalie Lecocq
Director General
Alexander Döring
Secretary General
The US Soybean Export Council and the American Soybean Association have also issued a letter of their own. See it HERE

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