Commission is urged to withdraw GM food and feed proposal

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Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson has called on the European Commission to withdraw its proposal which would give individual Member States the ability to restrict or ban the use of authorised GM food or feed.

Mr Nicholson stated: “The European Commission’s proposal to permit individual Member States to prevent imports of GM food and animal feed will negatively affect agriculture and food production in the EU.

“Allowing Member States the freedom to restrict or prohibit the use of GMOs in food or feed on their territory which have already been authorised by EFSA - the EU’s food safety watchdog - would create a logistical nightmare, disrupt trade within the EU and push up feed costs. The EU relies heavily on imports of GM feed for livestock and preventing these imports would hit production, especially in the pig and poultry sectors given their reliance on soya.

“In the Northern Ireland context this proposal, if implemented, would be hugely problematic for local importers of feed materials if for example the UK and Republic of Ireland took different positions in relation to a product.”

He added: “Once again the European Commission is proposing something which is unworkable on the ground and actually threatens the EU’s competitiveness and ability to produce food – it must be withdrawn.”