Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson has called on the European Commission to scrap a proposal which would give individual Member States the ability to restrict or ban the use of GM (Genetically Modified) feed even after it was approved on health grounds.
The Ulster Unionist representative who is Agriculture Coordinator for the ECR Group has written jointly to the Commission with fellow Coordinators; Albert Deß MEP representing the EPP Group on the Agriculture Committee and Jens Rohde MEP from the ALDE Group to raise concerns about the potential impact of the plan on the competitiveness of the EU’s agricultural industry.
Commenting Mr Nicholson said: “The European Commission’s proposal to allow individual Member States to prohibit the use of GM feed which has already been authorised by EFSA - the EU’s food safety watchdog - would result in a logistical nightmare, disrupt trade within the EU’s internal market and push up feed costs for livestock farmers.
“Northern Ireland’s feed importers would encounter difficulties if this plan was implemented and if for example the UK and Republic of Ireland took different positions in relation to a particular product.
“This proposal by the European Commission aims to be all things to all people yet it would be totally unworkable on the ground. It would also seriously restrict the EU’s ability to produce food.
“Because of these concerns we are calling on the Commission to withdraw the proposal.”
Mr Nicholson concluded: “Next week the EU’s Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, who has responsibility for GM policy is due to discuss the plan with members of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee.
“The Commissioner must take on board the serious concerns regarding the implications of such an approach to GM feed and drop this impractical proposal.”