Europe stance on GM animal feed questioned

Former EU Agriculture Commissioner says alternative to zero-tolerance policy must be found

Europe’s current zero-tolerance policy on genetically modified grains in imports is being questioned by former EU Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler, who says that a better solution must be found in order to maintain adequate supplies.

“The import of feed is absolutely necessary,” said Fischler in a UK National Farmers Union interview. ”Europe cannot, certainly for the time being, produce all the feedstuffs necessary to feed pigs and poultry. It is necessary to clarify the rules and find a better solution for the GM varieties which are not authorized in Europe.”

Asked whether Europe’s farmers would need to cultivate GM crops in the future, Fischler said that the varieties that are currently available would not give European farmers major increases in yield. He said that the situation was slightly different with Bt maize, where there was a real pest and that use of pesticides could be reduced, but the “big new concept” to make a huge difference may only be available in the laboratories of international seed companies. It would be real progress, he said, to have drought tolerant varieties, but he does not see them for the time being.