The European Union is not self-sufficient in oilseeds and has to rely on imports to cover the food and feed industry demand for vegetable proteins and oils. Imports are a vital complement to the EU raw material supply. Putting forward the example of soybeans, the EU production covers only 7% with little fluctuation for the past 10 years. The increase in EU production is limited due to agronomic and climatic and cannot replace imports.
Though critical for the European market, imports remain under constant threat caused by a possible presence of the traces of GM events that have not yet been authorized in the EU but have already been safety assessed and authorized in the exporting countries. Such presence is unintentional and despite all efforts technically unavoidable.
The current EU GM regulation 1830/2004 puts in place zero tolerance for the low level presence of not yet EU authorized GM events. The time gap in the authorizations between the EU and exporting countries together with the rapidly increasing area and number of GM events cultivated worldwide, exposes EU operators to significant disadvantage and legal uncertainty.
In April 2015, the Commission published a proposal to revise the current EU authorisation system of GMOs for food and feed uses. The Commission is proposing to amend the existing legislation in order to allow Member States to restrict or to ban the use for food and feed of GMOs that have been authorized at EU level. Under this proposal, the procedure for authorisation at EU level would remain unchanged and Member States could "opt-out" under certain conditions subject to Commission scrutiny.
FEDIOL has expressed serious concerns about the implications of such decision on economic operators and on the functioning of the EU Internal Market.