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for a responsible, fair & sustainable food system

EU Food Authorities Pave Way for Meat and Milk from GM Animals

Immediate release (4 Jul 2012)

Calls to: Pete Riley 07903 341 065

European Union officials are paving the way to bring genetically modified (GM) animals to the European market.

European authorities have developed safety guidelines for the introduction of GM animals [1] – a precursor to approving such products for commercial sale.

These steps to introduce GM fish, pigs or cows come despite unwillingness of major retailers to sell them, research by Friends of the Earth Europe shows [2], as well as strong consumer opposition to GMOs. [3]

Pete Riley, Campaign Director GM Freeze, asked:

Why has the European Commission decided to spend money on this when times are so hard? European consumers have already rejected GM food, so why would parents want to feed their families meat, fish and milk from GM animals, especially as the production of GM animals will raise additional ethical concerns?

Mute Schimpf, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said,“The idea of eating genetically modified meat or milk turns people’s stomachs. Leading European supermarkets know it would be bad for business to sell GM animals products and will not stock them. Not a single country allows GM animals for food production. So why is the European Commission starting a procedure to approve such products? It’s preposterous.

Milk, meat and eggs from GM animals are not authorized for consumption in any country in the world. Where research on GM animals for food purposes has been done, tests have been largely unsuccessful and abandoned.

The new guidelines, commissioned by the European Commission from the EU food risk advisory body (EFSA) and published last month, pave the way for GM animals because they describe the safety checks that would be required before a GM animal could be authorised in Europe. Previously such guidelines did not exist, which meant no biotech company could pursue an authorisation. The guidelines mean that biotech companies now have the possibility to ask for permission to develop GM animals in Europe.

Friends of the Earth Europe contacted leading European supermarket chains to assess their readiness to sell products from GM animals. The responses showed that major retailers have absolutely no plans to sell meat or other products from GM animals. [2]



[1] See European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), June 2012. “Draft technical guidance on the environmental risks assessment geneticaly modified animals

[2] See Friends of the Earth Europe, July 2012. “Something fishy: the facts on GM animals – The European Commission’s rush to approve genetically modified animals” (pdf)

[3] European consumers are highly concerned about GM animals according to both Eurobarometer 354, 2010 and Eurobarometer 238, 2008 (both pdfs)