Following the exit of some sectors of the German poultry industry from non-GMO feed on the grounds of supposed lack of availability, other industry sectors say there is plenty of non-GMO feed to go round.
EXCERPT: GMO critics accuse the poultry industry, however, of working with incorrect information. "GMO-free soya from Brazil is available for the European feed industry in sufficient quantity," reads a statement from the Association Food without Genetic Engineering [VLOG]. According to information from the industry, not bottlenecks but higher prices are the main reason for the poultry industry getting out of feeding GMO-free feed. GMO soy is simply cheaper than conventional material.
Poultry industry does not want to do without genetic engineering any longer
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 27 February 2014
English translation supplied to GMW by a volunteer. German original at:
http://bit.ly/1hNh1ov (behind paywall)
A new thrust of the poultry industry ensures riot among GMO opponents: chicken fatteners and laying hen keepers want in future to use genetically engineered food. That, at least, the industry association ZDG has announced. They say the step is justified by the fact that not enough non-GMO soy is available on the world market. In addition, the chicken producers could not guarantee that the compound feed used by them is actually free of genetically modified soy. Many of the supplies are heavily contaminated with GMO soy that the permitted tolerance threshold is exceeded.
For consumers, this could mean that they are already buying in a few months meat and eggs from animals fed with genetically modified soy - although most Germans oppose genetic engineering in food. This is respected also by the retail chain and the majority of food producers in Germany. They have no other choice: Genetically modified food products may not be sold in this country, apart from a few exceptions - and that includes the use of GMO animal feed. Poultry farmers had, however, until now committed to refrain from using this kind of feed. That is about to change. "We can see a continuous contamination of soy cargoes," says Thomas Janning, Director of the German Poultry Association [ZDG]. The industry therefore cannot continue feeding GMO-free soy. It would otherwise expose itself to the accusation of consumer deception.
GMO critics accuse the poultry industry, however, of working with incorrect information. "GMO-free soya from Brazil is available for the European feed industry in sufficient quantity," reads a statement from the Association Food without Genetic Engineering [VLOG]. According to information from the industry, not bottlenecks but higher prices are the main reason for the poultry industry getting out of feeding GMO-free feed. GMO soy is simply cheaper than conventional material.
This is confirmed by an inquiry with Agravis, one of Germany's largest dealers in agricultural commodities. The leading suppliers are therefore the United States, Brazil and Argentina. Five percent of the soy grown worldwide is offered free of genetic engineering, and most of it comes from Brazil. Supply shortages do not currently exist according to Agravis. However, GMO-free soya is considerably more expensive. "In 2013, a premium of 170-180 dollars per ton was paid," says a spokesman. "The market is less concerned about supply shortages than about the price difference [between GMO and non-GMO]." Even the Brazilian growers association ABRANGE contradicts the view of the poultry industry. The cultivation of conventional soy has increased by ten per cent this year alone.
Apparently even within the poultry industry there is by no means unanimity on matters of genetic engineering. One of Europe's largest egg producers, Deutsche Frühstücksei [company name translating as German Breakfast Egg] has made it clear on Wednesday that it will stick in any case to GMO-free production. "We are not involved in any way in the ongoing discussions and conversion considerations of other market players," says CEO Christian Hinxlage. The animal feed in question is manufactured by the company in its own plant.
PHW Group (Wiesenhof) and Rothkötter (Emsland Frischgeflügel), however, two of Germany's biggest chicken producers, have announced a phase-out of non-GMO feed. A Wiesenhof spokesman declined to comment any further, he referred to the industry association.