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European GM Opt-Out Would Put Rural Jobs at Risk

23 October 2015

EU - A feed industry assessment has suggested that an "opt-out" proposal for member states to be allowed to prohibit the use of GM feed in their countries would lead to reduced competitiveness of the livestock sector.

The Economic Impact Assessment from feed organisations COCERAL, FEDIOL and FEFAC concluded that substituting GM soy currently used in feed with non-GM soy would lead to an increase in feed costs of around 10 per cent for the livestock sector.

The assessment focussed on soy as feed and did not look at other feed products, and only looked at the impact in  Germany, France, Poland and Hungary due to their important livestock sectors.

The report concluded that not all of the soy could be replaced with alternative protein sources, so some of it would have to be replaced with non-GM soy. Calculations showed that the resulting costs would be €1.2 billion in the four countries studied or €2.8 billion for the EU livestock sector if all EU countries would opt out.

The feed organisations said these extra costs would place strain on the livestock industry in countries that chose to opt out, negatively affecting their competitive position both in their domestic markets and respective export destinations.

"In the long-term, this loss of competitiveness would have negative repercussions on the supply chain from farm to manufacturing, putting jobs in EU rural areas at serious risk," COCERAL, FEDIOL and FEFAC said.

Recently, the proposal to allow member states to opt-out was rejected by the Environment Committee of the European Commission, which feared the rule would "jeopardise the internal market".

The European Parliament will vote on the matter in a plenary session in late October in Strasbourg.

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

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