Supplies of GM material to the EU

  • The spread of biotechnology through commodity-exporting countries means that supplies of feed materials to the EU will contain a growing proportion of GM-derived products. It is not possible to quantify this as there is no legal requirement to collect such data, but these imports are considered by the EU feed industry as unavoidable because the EU is not self-sufficient in protein-rich feed. 

  • The European Feed Manufacturers' Association estimates that the EU feed industry imports annually over 70% of its soya and rapeseed requirements. A total of 98% of the soya bean meal imported by the EU is sourced from Brazil and Argentina, which are major producers of GM soya. 

  • Brazil and Argentina also supply the EU with significant quantities of maize for starch manufacture, the by-products of which go for feed use; much of this will be GM. The UK imports cotton meal from Brazil, India and China, which are major producers of GM cotton.

  • Identity preservation – i.e., the segregation of GM and non-GM crops after harvest and during transport, storage and subsequent use – is not routinely practised by commodity-exporting countries, but can be achieved at a premium. This additional price will vary according to the state of the commodity markets and the nature of demand for the end products (milk, meat and eggs for human consumption).