U.S. Grains Council: EU 'opt-out' proposal on biotech food illegal

The U.S. Grains Council said last week that the “opt-out” policy on biotechnology-based food and feed products being considered by the European Commission would be disruptive.

Reports surfaced recently that the commission is considering allowing its member states to opt out of import approvals for these products, a move the Grains Council said would violate international obligations under the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“The EU continues to practice a de facto moratorium on biotech approvals, contrary to its obligations under international law,” U.S. Grains Council Chairman Ron Gray, a farmer from Illinois, said. “It is important to emphasize that we are discussing (products) that have been tested and approved not only by (the European Food Safety Authority), the EU’s own scientific watchdog, but also by the U.S. and other major import markets like Japan, Canada, Taiwan and Mexico that have sophisticated regulatory systems with high scientific integrity.”

EU members involved in agriculture are warning that the balance of their food and feed supply is threatened when regulation is not science-based or timely. It has been shown that delaying market approvals for biotechnology-based products raises costs along the EU value chain – including for EU consumers – which undermines the economic growth and competitiveness of the EU food, feed, breeding and livestock sectors.

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