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POLICY & REGULATION: Ireland alters position on EU GM proposals



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:   IRELAND ALTERS POSITION ON EU GM PROPOSALS

SOURCE:  RTÉ News, Ireland

AUTHOR:  

URL:     http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/0208/gm.html

DATE:    08.02.2011

SUMMARY: "The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith, has said that Ireland has altered its voting position and will support a number of proposals from the EU Commission aimed at authorising the placing on the market of food, food ingredients and feed containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize and cotton. Mr Smith said Ireland will also support EU Commission proposals to introduce a tolerance for the low level presence of, as yet, unauthorised GM varieties in imports of animal feed."

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IRELAND ALTERS POSITION ON EU GM PROPOSALS

Agriculture Mininster Brendan Smith has said that Ireland has altered its voting position and will support a number of proposals from the EU Commission.

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith, has said that Ireland has altered its voting position and will support a number of proposals from the EU Commission aimed at authorising the placing on the market of food, food ingredients and feed containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize and cotton.

Mr Smith said Ireland will also support EU Commission proposals to introduce a tolerance for the low level presence of, as yet, unauthorised GM varieties in imports of animal feed.

Ireland?s support for the Commission?s proposals will be confirmed at a meeting of the EU Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health in Brussels.

Applications for authorisation for the particular GM varieties have been made to the European Commission and have been given a positive opinion by the European Food Safety Authority, a position with which the Food Safety Authority of Ireland concurs.

Minister Smith said that it has been a matter of great concern to Ireland, in recent years, that there has been a severe disruption to trade of animal feed, caused by the delays in the authorisation, by the EU, of GM varieties which have already been approved in the exporting countries.

Over 90% of the protein feed for Ireland?s livestock comes from soya and maize by-products imported from North and South America, practically all of which contains GM varieties sown in those countries.

Exporting countries find it increasingly difficult to segregate feed that contains GM varieties that have yet to be authorised and, where segregation is possible, it contributes to increased costs of feed.

The Minister said that imports of maize by-products into Ireland declined by over 75% between 2006 and 2009, before recovering somewhat last year.

The shortfall has had to be met by much more expensive alternative protein ingredients which led to increased prices of animal feed in recent years, thus putting Irish producers at a competitive disadvantage.

Reacting to the decision of the Government to support the EU Commission?s move to extend the varieties of novel feed available to producers, IFA President John Bryan said at a time of rising input costs, ?it is critical that Irish producers are not left at a disadvantage because of delays in authorising feed.?

Mr Bryan said pig producers, in particular, have been under severe pressure as their input costs have risen dramatically in the last six months.

?They are losing ?15 on every pig produced, something which is not sustainable and is placing thousands of jobs at risk.

?They are finding it very difficult to source credit, and they must have access to the most cost-effective feed supplies to compete in the global market.?

The IFA President said this decision must clear the way to allow increased supplies of soya onto the market, which have been held up for some time.



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:   MINISTER?S DECISION ON GM FOODS CRITICISED

SOURCE:  The Irish Times, Ireland

AUTHOR:  Sean Mac Connell

URL:     http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0209/1224289345459.html

DATE:    09.02.2011

SUMMARY: "THE GOVERNMENT?s reversal of its policy to abstain on European Union decisions to allow some genetically modified food into the EU has been criticised by its former Green Party coalition partners. Minister for Agriculture, Brendan Smith announced yesterday that Ireland would now support a number of proposals on allowing the marketing of food, food ingredients and feed consisting of or produced from genetically modified maize and cotton."

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MINISTER?S DECISION ON GM FOODS CRITICISED

THE GOVERNMENT?s reversal of its policy to abstain on European Union decisions to allow some genetically modified food into the EU has been criticised by its former Green Party coalition partners.

Minister for Agriculture, Brendan Smith announced yesterday that Ireland would now support a number of proposals on allowing the marketing of food, food ingredients and feed consisting of or produced from genetically modified (GM) maize and cotton.

Ireland, he said, would also support EU Commission proposals to introduce a tolerance for the low level presence of, as yet, unauthorised GM varieties in imports of animal feed.

His statement said Ireland?s support for the commission proposals will be confirmed at a meeting of the EU standing committee on the food chain and animal health in Brussels today.

?Applications for authorisation for the particular GM varieties have been made to the EU Commission and have been given a positive opinion by the European Food Safety Authority, a position with which the Food Safety Authority of Ireland concurs,? it continued.

Trevor Sargent, the Green Party TD and former minister for food, said that when in government the Green Party ensured Ireland abstained in this vote.

?This is a clear a U-turn by Fianna Fáil following the Green?s departure from government.

?It shows the Greens were always on the side of the consumer and producers and had been making a real difference in terms of protecting Ireland?s reputation for high quality food,? he said.

?Here is another example of where the influence of big business on Fianna Fáil comes before what the public interest.

?This is a backward step for Irish agriculture, and will serve to undermine our reputation with European consumers,? he said

The Minister?s statement, which was welcomed by the Irish Farmers? Association, said it had been a matter of great concern to Ireland, in recent years that there has been a severe disruption to the trade of animal feed caused by the delays in the authorisation, by the EU, of GM varieties which have already been approved in the exporting countries.

?Over 90 per cent of the protein feed for Ireland?s livestock comes from soya and maize by-products imported from North and South America, practically all of which contains GM varieties sown in those countries,? he said.

?Exporting countries find it increasingly difficult to segregate feed that contains GM varieties that have yet to be authorised and, where segregation is possible, it contributes to increased costs of feed,? he went on.

But Mr Sargent rejected Mr Smith?s claim that GM-free animal feed was difficult to source saying it was freely available at a small premium.

He also said Fine Gael and Labour would support Fianna Fáil in its latest move.

IFA president John Bryan said that at a time of rising input costs, it was critical that Irish producers were not left at a disadvantage because of delays in authorising feed.

Mr Bryan said pig producers, in particular, have been under severe pressure as their input costs have risen dramatically in the last six months and were losing ? 15 on every pig produced.

A contrary view was taken by the Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association, which described the Government support of the European Commission decision to scrap the ?zero tolerance? food safety policy, as a short-sighted move.

?EU consumers have continually stated that they do not wish to have GM ingredients in the human food chain.

?The fact that the EU , now supported by the Irish Government, is bowing to pressure from the GM multinationals mainly based in the US does not bode well for EU consumers,? said spokeswoman Grace Maher.



                                  PART 3

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   SMITH CONFIRMS IRELAND TO SUPPORT EU PROPOSALS ON GM VARIETIES

SOURCE:  Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Ireland

AUTHOR:  Press Release

URL:     http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/press/pressreleases/2011/february/title,51105,en.html

DATE:    08.02.2011

SUMMARY: "The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith, confirmed that Ireland has altered its voting position and will support a number of proposals from the EU Commission aimed at authorising the placing on the market of food, food ingredients and feed containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize and cotton. Ireland will also support EU Commission proposals to introduce a tolerance for the low level presence of, as yet, unauthorised GM varieties in imports of animal feed."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


SMITH CONFIRMS IRELAND TO SUPPORT EU PROPOSALS ON GM VARIETIES

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith, confirmed that Ireland has altered its voting position and will support a number of proposals from the EU Commission aimed at authorising the placing on the market of food, food ingredients and feed containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize and cotton. Ireland will also support EU Commission proposals to introduce a tolerance for the low level presence of, as yet, unauthorised GM varieties in imports of animal feed.

Ireland?s support for the EU Commission proposals will be confirmed at a meeting of the EU Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health in Brussels today. Applications for authorisation for the particular GM varieties have been made to the European Commission and have been given a positive opinion by the European Food Safety Authority, a position with which the Food Safety Authority of Ireland concurs.

Minister Smith said that ?it has been a matter of great concern to Ireland, in recent years, that there has been a severe disruption to trade of animal feed, caused by the delays in the authorisation, by the EU, of GM varieties which have already been approved in the exporting countries.?

Over 90 per cent of the protein feed for Ireland?s livestock comes from soya and maize by-products imported from North and South America, practically all of which contains GM varieties sown in those countries. Exporting countries find it increasingly difficult to segregate feed that contains GM varieties that have yet to be authorised and, where segregation is possible, it contributes to increased costs of feed.

The Minister said that ?imports of maize by-products into Ireland declined by over 75 per cent between 2006 and 2009, before recovering somewhat last year. The shortfall has had to be met by much more expensive alternative protein ingredients which led to increased prices of animal feed in recent years, thus putting Irish producers at a competitive disadvantage.?

Despite the authorisation by the EU of a number of outstanding GM events in 2010, which resulted in a partial recovery in the volume of maize by-products imports, there is a continuing concern about the possibility of further disruption to trade because further GM varieties of maize and soya will require EU authorisation in the coming years.

Minister Smith said that he was ?very conscious of the pressure on producers arising from the high cost of feed and, particularly, the critical situation in which pig producers find themselves due to the price of feed. Today?s decision to support the EU Commission proposals will be of benefit to this sector and will complement the decision of the EU Commission, at Ireland?s request, to introduce an immediate Aid to Private Storage scheme for pigmeat.?

Minister Smith concluded by acknowledging the support of the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Mary Coughlan, for his decision to support the EU Commission proposals. Consideration of GM food and feed proposals is carried out jointly by the Department of Health and Children (food element) and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (feed element).