European Union's ag committee rejects biotech-food opt-out proposal

The European Union Agriculture Committee recently rejected the biotechnology “opt-out” proposal introduced by the European Commission in April.

The proposal aimed to give individual member states the power to restrict or prohibit the use of EU-approved biotech food or feed in their territory, even though the traits have been approved by the European Food Safety Authority.

The European Parliament said the committee fears that “arbitrary national bans could distort competition on the EU’s single market” and harm the (EU's) food-production sectors, which rely heavily on biotech-feed imports.”

The American Soybean Association (ASA) pressuredthe EU to withdraw the proposal before it disrupts trade policy and has major short- and long-term effects on both biotech crop exporters and consumers in the EU.

Short-term effects include the loss of direct export markets and logistical and management costs. Long-term effects could include major structural changes, both for exporters and the EU livestock industry, as well as increased shipping costs.

The EU Environment Committee will examine the Agriculture Committee’s vote on Oct. 12 and 13 before the entire Parliament votes on the matter at the end of October.

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