Relaxing the rules on GM material in animal feed is a step in the right direction, said the NFU, but more must be done to relieve cost pressure on food producers.

Earlier this week, the EC said it would allow a tolerance level of 0.1% of non-EU approved GM in imported feed previously it had operated a zero-tolerance approach on such material.

NFU policy director Martin Haworth said the rules only applied to imports destined for feed, which meant key imports such as maize would be largely unaffected as it was not always possible to tell if they would be used as feed or food. He also said the requirement that GM material must "not have been identified by EFSA as susceptible to having adverse effect" could lead to delays in getting imports approved. "There needs to be a pragmatic system. Unless we find a solution we risk making the Euro­pean livestock industry uncompetitive," he said.