U.S. ships with soybean meal halted
US ships with soybean meal halted
AllAboutFeed.net, 20 August 2009
European Union buyers have voluntarily stopped imports of US soybean meal, after traces of genetically modified maize were found in shipments, the Irish Examiner writes. European trade sources said US soy shipments to Spain and Germany were found to have traces of GMO maize varieties which are prohibited in the EU.
A German trader told the Reuters news agency: "The shipments have been rejected at the EU borders, and have been consigned and recalled when already on the market within the EU, unless they have already been consumed."
After 50,000 tonnes of contaminated US soybean meal were unloaded and detained at Tarragona, SpainÃs largest port, a spokesman for the Spanish Association of Cereal and Products Importers said: "That puts us all in an uncertain, risky trade situation, and that is most serious for the entire European Community, trade, livestock production and the economy."
Meanwhile, another cargo of soybean in the Spanish port of La Coruna awaited tests for genetically modified organisms.
The US Grain and Feed Trade Association estimates that 200,000 tonnes of US soy had been denied entry to the EU, by mid-July.
Given the uncertainty, international traders have ceased all further shipments. This has raised concerns about supplies of key feed ingredients for European livestock.
The EU took 475,900 tonnes of US soybean meal in the marketing year to last October. Shipments since then are 374,300 tonnes.
The import shutdown is most worrying for Ireland, which depends heavily on imported animal feed such as soy. Over 50% of animal feed ingredients are imported here, more than any other country in the EU.
COMMENT by GM-free Ireland:
Irish cattle and sheep consume less maize and soy feed than livestock in most other European countries, thanks to their mostly grass-based diet. In Ireland, imported maize and soy feed constitutes only 3-7% of the cattle and 15-17% of the sheep diets. Most of Ireland's imported maize feed comes from the USA in the form of maize gluten (a byproduct of the US biofuel industry). But most of Ireland's (and Europe's) imported soy feed does not come from the USA and is therefore not affected by these latest contamination incidents: it comes from Argentina and Brazil - which take great care to only grow GM soy varieties that are approved in the EU.
The agri-biotech industry is using disinformation of this kind as part of its strategy to convince Irish farmers that the solution to the GM food chain contamination problem is to allow more of it, by scrapping the EU's "zero tolerance" policy for unapproved GM animal feed.