According to the Nederlandse Vereniging Diervoederindustrie, the Dutch association for the feed industry, the zero-tolerance standard relating to GMO contamination of imported feed ingredients will impose high costs on feed manufacturers, livestock producers and, ultimately, consumers.
In addition to the current ban on importation of canola, corn and rice products from North America, the new barrier to soybeans will impose a severe economic impact. Nevedi, which represents 115 feed companies in Holland, collectively producing 96% of the 13 million tons of feed produced annually, calculates the cost will be as high as US$380 million with a potential loss of up to 700 jobs. The damage could be higher if the ban is extended to oil marketed from imported beans.
Nevedi has consistently emphasized that the zero tolerance for unapproved GM material in imported products is unwarranted and represents a severe burden for producers in Holland and other EU countries, and will affect competitiveness of the EU agri-food industry.
Pedro Correa, president of the European Feed Manufacturers Association (FEFAC), indicated banning soybean imports from the U.S. will be of concern to the entire livestock industry until the new crop of soybeans becomes available from Latin America during spring 2010. The EU will compete with China for available soybean, and yields from Argentina are expected to be depressed due to drought conditions.
The EU depends on imports for 80% of vegetable protein requirements, and the zero-tolerance policy, which cannot be justified by scientific studies that have confirmed safety, may ultimately be to the detriment of the EU.