USDA: ‘Fear mongering’ keeps EU scared of growing GMOs, while it relies on US biotech grain imports

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Europe depends on US exports of GM grain to sustain its livestock sector.

Commercial cultivation of GE crops in the EU is limited to one percent of the EU’s total corn area (102 thousand hectares of GE corn in Spain and Portugal). The single variety authorized for cultivation is banned in all or parts of nineteen [ EU countries]. The threat of destruction by activists and difficult marketing conditions also discourages the cultivation of GE crops in general. For more than two decades, European consumers have been exposed to consistent fear mongering from anti-biotech groups. As a result, consumer attitudes toward GE products are mostly negative.

The EU’s food industry and retailers adapt their product offerings to meet consumer perceptions. There are increasingly more initiatives to differentiate non-GE food products at the retail level by using voluntary GE-free labels. Several major supermarkets promote themselves as carrying only non-GE products.

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The European Union (EU) imports large amounts of genetically engineered (GE) feed to sustain its livestock sector. The United States is the main supplier of soybeans to the EU, most of which are GE. In spite of efforts on EU and Member State (MS) levels to grow protein crops in the EU and gain feed self-sufficiency, farmers in the EU will continue to need imports of safe, reliable, and affordable feedstuffs.

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