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CONTAMINATION & REGULATION: Firms urge EU to allow unapproved GMOs in food imports



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:   FIRMS URGE EU TO ALLOW UNAPPROVED GMOS IN FOOD IMPORTS

SOURCE:  Thomson Reuters, USA

AUTHOR:  Charlie Dunmore

URL:     http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/15/us-eu-gmo-food-idUSTRE76E4GM20110715

DATE:    15.07.2011

SUMMARY: "Europe?s food and drink industry has urged the EU to allow traces of unapproved genetically modified material in food imports, after similar rules for animal feed imports were approved last month. The global nature of grain supply chains makes it increasingly difficult and costly for exporters to guarantee that small amounts of GM crops that are not yet approved in Europe don?t find their way into cargoes. [...] ?While this regulation represents a first step in an obvious direction, a necessary second step is that the scope of the legislation needs to be extended to include food as a matter of urgency,? EU industry association FoodDrinkEurope said in a statement."

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FIRMS URGE EU TO ALLOW UNAPPROVED GMOS IN FOOD IMPORTS

(Reuters) - Europe?s food and drink industry has urged the EU to allow traces of unapproved genetically modified (GM) material in food imports, after similar rules for animal feed imports were approved last month.

The global nature of grain supply chains makes it increasingly difficult and costly for exporters to guarantee that small amounts of GM crops that are not yet approved in Europe don?t find their way into cargoes.

The European Union voted in June to allow up to 0.1 percent of unapproved GM in feed imports, following supply disruptions in 2009 when U.S. soy shipments were blocked after tiny amounts of unauthorized GM were found in some cargoes.

?While this regulation represents a first step in an obvious direction, a necessary second step is that the scope of the legislation needs to be extended to include food as a matter of urgency,? EU industry association FoodDrinkEurope said in a statement.

?Like feed producers, food producers are dependent on raw material imports and are therefore confronted with very comparable challenges to feed producers,? said the association, which represents Europe?s 1 trillion euro ($1.4 billion) a year food and drink sector.

The European Commission said on Friday it would assess the effectiveness of the new regulations for feed imports before making any similar proposal for food.

?Food will be addressed in the future, but we can?t give any specific date at this stage,? EU health and consumer affairs spokesman Frederic Vincent said.

When the rules for feed imports were proposed, a majority of EU governments said they would welcome similar proposals for food.

Some member states -- as well as major grain exporters to Europe such as the United States, Brazil and Argentina -- say different EU rules for food and feed are unworkable because global grain supply chains cannot be separated into one or the other.

The problem of unapproved GM material in imports to Europe has arisen because of delays in the EU?s authorization process for GMOs, which currently takes up to two years longer than in exporting countries.

This is the first time that Europe?s food industry as a whole has called for a tolerance threshold for unapproved GM material in imports destined for human consumption.

In a 2010 Commission survey, 57 percent of EU respondents said they were opposed to GM food.

(Reporting by Charlie Dunmore, editing by Anthony Barker)



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:   FOOD COMPANIES? SUPPLY CHAINS ?AT RISK? FROM NEW GMO FEED RULES

SOURCE:  Food Navigator, France

AUTHOR:  Sarah Hills

URL:     http://www.foodnavigator.com/Legislation/Food-companies-supply-chains-at-risk-from-new-GMO-feed-rules

DATE:    18.07.2011

SUMMARY: "Food manufacturers face extra costs and the potential risk of GMOs entering the food chain as new GMO rules for imported feed come into force on Friday, warns Cert ID Europe. [...] Richard Werran, managing director of the non-GMO certification body, Cert ID Europe, said that food and feed are so interlinked that the new rules could pose a risk to ingredients companies and manufacturers. ?Everybody in the food business knows that food and feed chains are not separated or segregated, they overlap. ?It is not unusual for a food ingredients manufacturer to source feed grade raw materials to produce food additives and ingredients.?"

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FOOD COMPANIES? SUPPLY CHAINS ?AT RISK? FROM NEW GMO FEED RULES

Food manufacturers face extra costs and the potential risk of GMOs entering the food chain as new GMO rules for imported feed come into force on Friday, warns Cert ID Europe. 

The new European Commission regulation aims to harmonise rules for the control of imports of feed materials from countries such as North and South America, which may contain traces of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) not covered by EU authorisations. 

It sets out a ?technical zero? of 0.1 per cent for unauthorised GM presence in imported feed, while the ?zero tolerance? level for food still applies. 

However, Richard Werran, managing director of the non-GMO certification body, Cert ID Europe, said that food and feed are so interlinked that the new rules could pose a risk to ingredients companies and manufacturers. 

He told FoodNavigator.com: ?Everybody in the food business knows that food and feed chains are not separated or segregated, they overlap. 

?It is not unusual for a food ingredients manufacturer to source feed grade raw materials to produce food additives and ingredients.? 

An example of this hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), which is used in many savoury products, from baked goods to flavour enhances. 

Werran added: ?We are seeing a relaxation on the feed side that is going to give the food side a problem. 

?There could be implicit exposure of unauthorised GMO. 

?It is therefore essential that food and feed operators test risk ingredients using the latest protocols to detect LLP (low level presence) of unauthorised GMOs.? 

The new rules are primarily going to affect those companies sourcing from North and South America, according to Werran. This would include soy, maize and rape seed. 

He said that the key is for manufacturers to understand their supply chain, adding: ?They need transparency in the supply chain. They need to ask the relevant questions of their risk suppliers. They need to update their risk assessment and ask whether their suppliers of ingredients have the right testing protocols in place. 

?It also means that the supply contract concerning quality of the feed raw material needs to be revisited and revised because LLP will be with us all on Friday. 

?It could place them (food manufacturers) in a very difficult situation trying to demonstrate compliance. 

?This is all going to be at an additional cost to the food industry.? 

However, Werran believes that eventually there will be an extension to the regulations to include food. 

The view from the EU 

Brussels argues that the regulation ensures a harmonised approach to controls in all Member States and said it also improves the legal certainty for importers of feed from third countries. 

Different maize products (four million tons imported in the 2008-09 season) and soybean products (33 million tons in soya meal equivalents in the 2008-09 season), imported mainly from Argentina, Brazil and the US, are ?an essential supplement? for the EU?s livestock sector.



                                  PART 3

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TITLE:   STATEMENT ON ENTRY INTO FORCE OF COMMISSION REGULATION EU NO. 619/2011 OF 24 JUNE 2011

SOURCE:  FoodDrinkEurope, Belgium

AUTHOR:  Statement

URL:     http://www.fooddrinkeurope.eu/news/statement/statement-on-entry-into-force-of-commission-regulation-eu-no-619-2011of-24/

DATE:    15.07.2011

SUMMARY: "The scope of the Regulation covers GM material authorised in a third country, which may be detected in feed at a level up to 0.1% and for which a dossier has been submitted to EFSA. Like feed producers, food producers are dependent on raw material imports and are therefore confronted with very comparable challenges to feed producers. While this Regulation represents a first step in an obvious direction, a necessary second step is that the scope of the legislation needs to be extended to include food as a matter of urgency."

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STATEMENT ON ENTRY INTO FORCE OF COMMISSION REGULATION EU NO. 619/2011 OF 24 JUNE 2011

Commission Regulation (EU) No 619/2011 of 24 June 2011 laying down the methods of sampling and analysis for the official control of feed as regards the presence of genetically modified (GM) material for which an authorisation procedure is pending or the authorisation of which has expired enters into force today. The scope of the Regulation covers GM material authorised in a third country, which may be detected in feed at a level up to 0.1% and for which a dossier has been submitted to EFSA. 

Like feed producers, food producers are dependent on raw material imports and are therefore confronted with very comparable challenges to feed producers. While this Regulation represents a first step in an obvious direction, a necessary second step is that the scope of the legislation needs to be extended to include food as a matter of urgency.

Background information:

About 80 percent of all soybeans are produced in just three countries (USA, Brazil, Argentina), in all of which  many  genetically modified (GM) varieties have been authorised for cultivation. Altogether, about 75 percent of the global soybean production consists already of GM varieties. Over the last decade, China, itself the fourth biggest producer of soybeans, has quickly become by far the biggest importer of soybeans. For maize the situation on the world market looks similar, only there the EU is almost self-sufficient and needs to satisfy only a fraction of its demand through imports.

The food industry is importing conventional agricultural raw materials. As in bulk trading, there is the possibility of "cross-contamination", low level presence (LLP) for which the authorisation is pending can also become an issue for the supply of other agricultural commodities than soy used for food.  Low-level presence (LLP) incidents (see paragraph below) are less likely in the production and trade of identity-preserved (IP) crops,  which the food industry is using, but even there, the commercial risk of LLP cannot be excluded.

Given the current "zero tolerance" policy in the EU for low-level presence (LLP) ? in food ? of GM crops that are not yet approved in the EU, this presents a major problem for manufacturers in the EU who import conventional soybeans for use in food production. The new Regulation, however, foresees a solution for feed only which is not sustainable.