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Trade implications of GMOs unapproved in the EU

New GMOs are being developed in third countries at a high rate. With approvals being granted in feed exporting third countries earlier than in the EU, the adventitious presence of EU unauthorised GMOs can impede on trade and, thereby, threaten the availability of animal feed in the EU.

GMOs that are legally produced for food and feed consumption in third countries require a separate authorisation for their specific use in the EU according to Community legislation. This requirement entails a risk that authorisations may be granted in third countries earlier than in the EU, which can lead to cases of "asynchronous authorisation", where a GMO is fully approved for commercial use in food and feed in the exporting country, but not in the EU. The potential impact of the adventitious presence of EU unauthorised GMOs in trade with feed and foodstuff is increasingly becoming important.

Concerning trade and market issues, problems were most pertinent in respect to the import of maize- and soybean-based animal feed. Particular problems arise with respect to soya, which is the most important protein component in compound feedstuff and which cannot be easily substituted by other types of protein feed.

In 2007, Commission services carried out a related study on the Economic Impact of Unapproved GMOs on EU Feed Imports and Livestock Production .

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