Individual E.U. countries may have more say on G.M.O.s

by Jeff Gelski
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BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — Bioengineered ingredients/G.M.O.s soon may face additional hurdles for use in food or feed in European Union countries. Once the E.U. authorizes a G.M.O. for use in food or feed in Europe, member states/countries individually will have more freedom to restrict or prohibit the use of the G.M.O. in food or feed on their territory, according to an April 22 proposal from the Brussels-based European Commission. Countries will need to justify that their opt-out measures comply with European Union law.

“Once adopted, today’s proposal will, fully in line with the principle of subsidiarity, grant member states a greater say as regards the use of E.U.-authorized G.M.O.s in food and feed on their respective territories,” said Vytenis Andriukaitis, health and food safety commissioner for the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union.

The proposal mirrors and complements the rights already given to individual E.U. countries in respect to G.M.O.s for cultivation, according to the European Commission. The April 22 legislative proposal will be sent to the European Parliament.

The American Soybean Association, St. Louis, said it was disappointed by the European proposal.

“Today’s decision from the European Commission is bad for the E.U.’s own livestock producers and feed industries, will make those industries less competitive and is bad for E.U. consumers who ultimately will pay more for the meat they put on their tables,” said Richard Wilkins, vice-president of the association and a Delaware farmer.

More than 60% of the European Union’s needs in vegetable protein for cattle are met through imports of soybeans and soymeal from countries where G.M.O. cultivation is widespread, according to the European Commission.

Mr. Wilkins also said he was concerned about the compatibility of the actions with the E.U.’s existing internal trade obligations as well as the ongoing Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (T.T.I.P.) negotiations between the United States and the European Union.
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