A Blow to Biotech Across the Atlantic
Non-GMO Feed Taking Off in Europe?
(8 October - Cropchoice News) -- In a move that could impact markets for American grain, the pacesetting British supermarket chain Iceland has announced that it will ban GMOs from feed used to raise its own-brand meat products. The BBC reports that the other major British supermarket chains - Sainsbury, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer's and Asda - will follow suit and ban biotech feed too.
The new policies could have implications for American producers - reducing feed grade biotech exports and adding to demand for non-GMO corn and soybeans.
The UK supermarkets are the first block of big European food retailers to ban biotech feed. But in other parts of the continent, companies are under similar pressure. McDonald's restaurants in Germany, for example, have recently come under fire from activists who want the burger maker to take GMOs out of poultry and cattle feed.
If European demand for American feed grade corn and soy drops off as a result, it may change some US producer's bottom line. Almost all food grade exports to Europe are already non-GMO; but countries like the UK have continued to buy some biotech grain from American producers for use in animal feeds. British beef cattle are 30-50% corn-fed, much of which is imported (along with soybeans and meal).
The changes may present an opportunity for non-GMO exporters in the US who, so far, have mainly served food grade markets. Non-GMO grain handlers in the US and Canada contacted by Cropchoice have indicated this is precisely the kind of market signal they have been looking for.
Iceland's feed announcement comes close behind an show-stopper earlier this year when the grocery chain, whose motto is "food you can trust", said it would sell a broad range of organic products without the typical price markup.
Source: BBC, Iceland Foods, Pro Farmers