European consumers do not want to eat food produced by animals that have been fed genetically modified (GM) feed. Unlike in the United States, the German market has been forced to adhere to consumer demand.
One of the European Union’s largest poultry producers, the Germany Poultry Association (ZDG) announced on August 28 that they will stop using GMO feed for both eggs and chicken. The measure will go into effect beginning January 1, 2015, according to Global GMO Free Coalition.
Earlier in the year, ZDG said they were breaking their 14-year-old commitment to use only non-GMO soybeans for poultry feed because of a shortage in non-GMO soybeans, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service [PDF].
Brazil, their main supplier, reportedly planned to cut non-GMO soybean production by 50 percent in 2014. Cross-contamination of conventional crops by GMOs has made it more difficult for unmodified crops to exist. Legal issues also arise from this occurrence, putting farmers at risk for lawsuits.
Quoting a statement released by ZDG on February 18, 2014, the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service reported:
“The German poultry industry has made great efforts to offer poultry meat from animals raised on GMO-free feeds” but that “chicken and turkey production cannot be undertaken in Germany without use of genetic technology” the association said. “Specialized factories for the production of poultry feed require a continuous supply of uncontaminated GMO-free soybeans, but supplies can no longer be guaranteed in the required volumes.”
German poultry association retracts February statement about there not being enough GMO-free feed to supply Europe
However, after consulting with Brazilian authorities, the German supermarkets retracted their February statement and are now saying that there is enough GMO-free feed to supply all of Europe.
“The wool has been pulled over the eyes of retailers across Europe by the GMO industry over the past year. We welcome the news that they have started to fight back in the interest of their customers, who do not want to buy GM-fed eggs and meat,” said Henry Rowlands, coordinator for Global GMO Free Coalition.
The EU is known for having stricter food regulations than the U.S., particularly when it comes to GMOs and antibiotic-treated meat, all because consumers demand it. Since 1997, there has been a Europe-wide ban on U.S. poultry imports.
European Union adheres to stricter food regulations than USA
However, under the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a massive free trade agreement with an estimated worth of $163 billion a year, Germany would be forced to accept America’s chlorine-washed chicken, a regimen despised by Europeans.
In the U.S., conventional chicken is routinely bathed in chlorine to disinfect the carcass, a practice referred to as an “end-of-tube” approach.
Critics of the TTIP allege that the free trade agreement will loosen “hard-fought” legislation designed to protect consumers and workers, according to The Independent.
Germans in particular are highly aware and very critical of the proposed TTIP deal. In regard to the regulations built up over decades of hard work, “These are precisely the regulations that have been targeted by big businesses in the US for removal,” said John Hilary, executive director of War on Want in an interview with RT.
“Because they say that there are unwarranted barriers to them to be able to make the profits that they wish to make trading and investing in Europe, but for people in Europe these are the most prized social and environmental standards that we have fought for years to uphold and develop. So the idea that we should just keep them away just to satisfy big business in the USA, that’s unconscionable,” said Hillary.
Negotiations regarding the free trade agreement are still underway and are expected to make headway by the end of 2014.
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