Proposal to allow GM animal feed ban is blocked

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PLANS TO allow EU member states to unilaterally ban animal feed made from genetically modified crops have been rejected.

Conservative MEP for Yorkshire Amjad Bashir was among those who helped formed a majority in the European Parliament to oppose the plans, proposals that he said would have threatened the capability of farmers to feed their livestock.

The Commission proposal would have given national governments the right to restrict or prohibit the use of GM organisms in food or feed on their territory, even when those products had been approved as safe by the EU and its scientists.

Mr Bashir said that he saw this as caving in to a minority of vocal member states and to the anti-GMO lobby.

After Wednesday’s vote in Strasbourg, Mr Bashir said: “We need imports of GM feed to maintain the livestock sector. Otherwise we cannot produce enough feed for our herds.

“The Commission proposal defied the principles of the single market. Worse than that, it ignored science and the advice of the EU’s own experts. It would have been gift to the anti-science, anti-GM lobby. Now we have forced a rethink and scored a victory for good sense.”

Andrea Graham, head of policy at the National Farmers’ Union, raised the issue this week too, when she told the British Government’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Science and Technology that GM feed products, particularly soya beans, are vital to provide the right balance of nutrition for poultry and livestock production.

She added that with 95 per cent of EU soya imported from North and South America, protecting supply chains from the disruption of “dysfunctional EU regulation” was incredibly important.