Feed prices may suddenly soar due to the European Union’s (EU) zero-tolerance policy for traces of unapproved genetically modified (GM) plants in imported feeds, announced President of European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC) Pedro Correa de Barros.
The EU livestock industry is in need of US soybeans and soybean meal until spring of next year, which is when South America begins its harvest. Prices could spike by EUR 20 per tonne or more for US imports because of “risk premiums.” Due to a lack of alternative feed options from South America, if US imports are not available then feed prices could mount even higher.
There are currently no short-term substitutions for vegetable proteins in the EU. The EU relies on imported food products for over 80 per cent of its vegetable proteins.
Also, imported meat products may contain traces of genetically modified plants that have not yet been approved, which are used to feed foreign cattle.
Correa de Barros wrote a letter to the EU Farm Council to stress the precarious nature of the situation and seek help.
“At a time when most EU livestock producers were facing economic hardship, the EU opposition to provide a practical threshold for trace levels of not yet EU authorised GM plants in imported feed may drive EU livestock farmers and feed operators out of business,” the letter reads.
He also requested that the EU Farm Ministers “agree on urgent measures at the next EU Farm Council meeting on 13 July 2009 to prevent the export of the EU livestock industry.”
"It is the EU's foremost responsibility to ensure vital protein feed imports for livestock farmers and thus food security for EU citizens while maintaining an economically viable and sustainable livestock sector," he concluded.