Are non-GM soy supplies running out?
2. Volumes of certified Non-GMO and ProTerra® sustainable soy products continue steady climb
1. Certified soy volumes vs. Brussels brainwash
12 December 2011
In English: http://bit.ly/ukhMQc
In German: http://bit.ly/bWKdWz
An alternative title for our first Comment after pausing for more than nine months would be Truth and Fiction Tried on Strategists from Politics and Industry. You are invited to select your preference after reading this article and the subsequent information.
A recent meeting at the EU Commission on genetically modified food and feed legislation repeated a fiction that has been current since 2000 but is no more true now than it was then that non-GMO feed supplies are running out.
This time, the teller of the tale was AGRA CEAS, a consulting firm charged by the Commission with evaluating the EU's GMO food and feed legislation in anticipation of the Commission's "review" of the rules next year.
AGRA's report [http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biotechnology/evaluation/docs/evaluation_gm_report_en.pdf] repeatedly claims supposed "reductions in the availability of non-GM supply". It worries about "securing a secure [sic.] all-year-round supply of feed for livestock" given the "increase in the number of countries growing GM crops" and suggests that maintaining a segregated non-GMO supply chain is becoming increasingly difficult, with higher costs being passed onto the consumer.
The implied message of AGRA's report (and one that the Commission is apparently happy to swallow) is that we must all surrender to the GM reality or our livestock will starve and our agricultural sector collapse. The subtext is that any retailer or consumer who thinks we can maintain a supply of non-GMO feed is living in Cloud Cuckoo Land.
Based on the assumptions laid out in AGRA's report and a second report by another consulting firm, the Commission will "review" its GMO food and feed legislation next year. Expect a slew of loopholes allowing for increased GMO presence in non-GM supply chains. Expect also a speeding up of GMO approvals in the name of "harmonization" with other countries that are claimed to be forging ahead with GM (translation: the U.S.). All in the name of coming to terms with what we are led to believe is the GMO reality of today's agriculture.
But it seems the Commission and its consultants are the ones who have failed to come to terms with reality. The non-GMO certification body Cert ID has just released its 2011 figures for volumes of Cert ID-certified Non-GMO soy. The figures show that contrary to the impression created by the Commission and its consultants, the Non-GMO sector is not shrinking, but expanding. This year Cert ID will certify altogether 7.7 million metric tons (MT) of soy as Non-GMO. That's up from 7.6 million MT in 2010 and 7.1 million MT in 2009. And it is at max. 0.1% GMO content. Augusto Freire, managing director of Cert ID Brazil, said, "Our figures for this year confirm that Europe's certified Non-GMO soy market, now in its twelfth year, is continuing to grow steadily."
In addition to the volumes of certified Non-GMO soy, plenty more non-GMO soy is available from Brazil. The only reason these additional volumes are not certified Non-GMO is because of lack of advance contracts between suppliers and buyers.
Freire said, "Brazil is the leading country in Non-GMO soy production and is capable of satisfying European demand for Non-GMO soy products for many years to come."
Cert ID estimates that it certifies as Non-GMO at least 15% of all soy imported into Europe. Other certification programs, taken together, are likely to certify at least as much again, meaning that 30 40% of soy coming into Europe is certified Non-GMO. Which does not mean, though, that these cargos are entering the market labeled accordingly. AGRA may be forgiven for characterizing the Non-GMO feed market as "relatively small" and "niche" albeit a niche occupied by the likes of Carrefour in France and German retail chains EDEKA and tegut. But there is less excuse for failing to mention the size and significance of the Non-GMO combined food and feed sector.
Replying to AGRA's charge that identity preservation costs for Non-GMO supply chains "have increased substantially and the impact on consumer prices cannot be seen as negligible any more", Cert ID's Freire said, "Costs of identity preservation have increased, but not much, as companies have only had to adapt to tougher conditions, not start from scratch.
"The additional cost to consumers is very small and the experience of European retailers with Non-GMO lines shows that consumers are willing to pay it once they've been informed of the nature of the product."
Freire noted that the AGRA report fails to mention that production costs for GM crops have increased greatly over the years because of higher seed and input costs.
”¨If Freire is right, why do claims of a shrinking Non-GMO supply chain survive and thrive, even to the extent of forming the basis of "reviews" to EU legislation? Freire said, "While there's no shortage of Non-GMO soy, it's certainly being offered less. This is the result of a great effort on the part of the biotech industry to impose its products through marketing campaigns, buying up seed companies, and creating a cartel."
We conclude that the only remaining mystery is why the Commission and its consultants are using taxpayers' money to do the biotech industry's public relations work for it as well as damaging Europe's thriving non-GMO sector.
For lack of any media coverage, we can only provide you with the recent press release by Cert ID reporting a continued increase of their Non-GMO certification volume. However, most important for our readers should be the 2011 statistics on certified soy volumes accessible by this link; for our subscribers, the document is also attached to this message.
© 2011 – Copyright by TraceConsult All Rights Reserved
2. Volumes of certified Non-GMO and ProTerra® sustainable soy products continue steady climb
CERT ID Brazil
Porto Alegre, 3 November 2011
Contact: Augusto Freire, managing director, CERT ID Brazil
Food and feed certification company CERT ID has released its 2011 figures for volumes of CERT ID-certified non-genetically modified (Non-GMOSM) soybean meal and other soy products. The report includes figures for sustainable Non-GMO soy certified under CERT ID's Pro-Terra® standard.
2011 represents the third year of growth for the certified Non-GMO soy market. CERT ID will certify 7.7 million metric tons (MT) of soy as Non-GMO in 2011, up from 7.6 million MT in 2010 and 7.1 million MT in 2009.
Augusto Freire, managing director of CERT ID Brazil, said, "The figures challenge frequent claims that not enough non-GMO soy is available to feed Europe's livestock and that Europeans have to accept GMO soy or their agricultural sector will collapse.
"In addition to the figures for certified Non-GMO soy, plenty more non-GMO soy is available from Brazil. The only reason these additional volumes are not certified Non-GMO is because of lack of advance contracts between suppliers and buyers.
"Nevertheless, this year's figures confirm that the market demand in Europe for certified Non-GMO soy is continuing to grow steadily.
"Brazil is the leading country in Non-GMO soy production and is capable of satisfying any demand for Non-GMO soy products from Europe for many years to come."
CERT ID has been certifying Non-GMO soy for 11 years and is the market leader in this area.
Freire says the extra cost of certified Non-GMO soy is not as much as many people assume just "pennies per kilo". And polls suggest that consumers are willing to pay extra for non-GM food:
*A survey carried out in the United Kingdom by the polling firm GfK/NOP found that 89 per cent of shoppers want labels on food from GM-fed animals and 72 per cent would pay extra for non-GM food.
*A study of consumer attitudes towards GM foods, again based in the United Kingdom, concluded that male shoppers were willing to pay an extra 26 per cent to avoid GMOs and female shoppers were willing to pay an extra 49 per cent.
Since 2006, many of CERT ID's clients have also certified their soy products according to both its Non-GMO and ProTerra standards.
ProTerra was the first sustainability certification standard for food and feed commodities and is the market leader in the sustainable soy and soy derivatives sector. ProTerra certified 4.2 million MT of sustainable soy in 2011 around a 4 per cent per cent increase over the 2010 figure.
ProTerra has strict social and environmental protections. It bans the destruction of native forests and other High Conservation Value Areas for soy production and protects the rights and livelihoods of local land users.
In contrast with other certification standards, ProTerra does not allow GMO content, because of questions over the sustainability of genetically modified Roundup Ready soy. GM soy is engineered to tolerate being sprayed with Roundup herbicide, resulting in large increases in Roundup use. This has been linked in scientific studies to a range of social and environmental problems, including high rates of birth defects and cancer in people living in soy-producing areas of South America, soil degradation, destruction of food crops, and loss of biodiversity. Lack of economic sustainability for growers in the long term is also of concern. 
Non-GMO market growing in Europe
Europe represents the biggest market for Non-GMO soy. A 2009 survey by the Forsa polling institute showed that 73 per cent of German consumers would prefer to buy foods carrying the ‘Ohne Gentechnik' (from animals raised without GMO feed) label.
What is more, the trend shows no signs of going away. A 2010 Eurobarometer poll showed that 61 per cent of Europeans are opposed to GM food, up from the 2007 figure of 58 per cent.
Augusto Freire of CERT ID said European retailers are responding to consumer demand by introducing non-GMO labeling schemes: "The non-GMO market is especially strong in Germany and France. In Germany, the retailers EDEKA and tegut have introduced ‘Ohne Gentechnik' product lines.
"In 2010 the French supermarket chain Carrefour introduced its ‘Nourri sans OGM' (non-GMO-fed) range of products."
Freire says such moves can be good for business: "The German branch of the dairy company FrieslandCampina found that sales of its Landliebe brand increased by 15 per cent in the two years after it introduced an ‘Ohne Gentechnik' label."
 CERT ID. CERT ID-certified Non-GMO soybean meal and other soy products: Volumes available from South America and worldwide. 26 October 2011. http://www.cert-id.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Brazil-Non-GM-Certification-Volume-2011-ENG_5.pdf
 GM Freeze. Summary of GfK/NOP Opinion Survey on GM-fed labels. 2010.http://bit.ly/n5NC0m
 Burton M, Rigby D, Young T, James S. Consumer attitudes to genetically modified organisms in food in the UK. European Review of Agricultural Economics. 2001; 28: 479-498.
 CERT ID. ProTerra Standard: Social Responsibility and Environmental Sustainability. Version 2.9. 22 July 2011.http://www.cert-id.eu/getattachment/About-Us/Downloads/ProTerra-Standard-2-9-English.pdf.aspx
 Paganelli A, Gnazzo V, Acosta H, Lopez SL, Carrasco AE. Glyphosate-based herbicides produce teratogenic effects on vertebrates by impairing retinoic acid signaling. Chem Res Toxicol. 2010; 23(10): 1586 1595.
 For a summary of peer-reviewed studies and other documentation of these problems, please see Antoniou M, Habib M, Howard CV, et al. Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark? Earth Open Source. June 2011.http://www.earthopensource.org/files/pdfs/Roundup-and-birth-defects/RoundupandBirthDefectsv5.pdf. Also: Antoniou M, Brack P, Carrasco A, Fagan J, Habib M, Kageyama P, Leifert C, Nodari RO, and Pengue W. GM Soy: Sustainable? Responsible? GLS Bank and ARGE Gentechnik-frei (the Austrian industry association for GM-free food), September 2010.http://scswebdesign.co.uk/eos/files/pdfs/GM-Soy-Sustainable/gm_full_eng_v15.pdf
 BUND. Gentechnik-Umfrage von Forsa: Mehrheit der Bundesbürger will Kennzeichnung "Ohne Gentechnik" auf Lebensmitteln. 2009. http://bit.ly/q8Sdvd
 European Commission. 2010. Special Eurobarometer: Biotechnology Report, 2.1.1, p. 18.
 WWF. Carrefour: Nouvel étiquetage "Nourri Sans OGM". 25 October 2010.
 FrieslandCampina. Landliebe forces "GMO-free" claims. Press release. 17 June 2010. http://bit.ly/pOtVo6.
© 2011 – Copyright by CERT ID