Proposed changes to GM feed rules would push up chicken and pork prices and threaten UK food security, producers have warned.
The EC last week proposed new rules giving member states more freedom to restrict or prohibit the use of GMOs in their territories.
The proposals follow a commitment from EC president Jean-Claude Juncker to review the current GMO authorisation process, which has been criticised by environmental and consumer groups.
However, National Pig Association chief executive Zoe Davies told The Grocer the proposals would pave the way for national bans on animal feed, with potentially dire consequences for EU meat production.
“In an attempt to wash his hands of this political hot potato, Juncker will cause havoc for both pig and poultry industries across the EU,” she said.
She warned the EU was reliant on imported animal feed and did not have the capacity to grow enough replacement protein.
The situation would also be “critical” for countries that continued to allow GMOs, because feed exporters might choose to avoid the European market if national bans were introduced, she added. “Soya-growing countries could easily ditch the EU and sell to other countries.”
British Poultry Council director of food policy Richard Griffiths agreed that re-nationalising decisions on GM feed would disrupt imports of animal feed. “Feed remains a large part of production costs, and bans on a country-by-country basis will disrupt imports,” he said.
He added the recent approval of 10 new GMOs for use in animal feed and food was evidence of the “robust system” currently in place, which gave all member states the opportunity to vote on approvals.
“To then give member states a veto on the use of those same GM materials they have already voted to approve is a backward step,” he warned.