GUELPH, ON (February 24, 2011) – Grain Farmers of Ontario is optimistic about the approval of a proposal earlier this week that would allow animal feed that contains trace elements of genetically modified (GM) material to be imported into the European Union (EU).
On February 22, the EU Member States approved a new rule that, if adopted by the European Commission, will accept up to 0.1 percent GM material in imported animal feed.
Last month, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Grain Farmers of Ontario chair, Don Kenny travelled to Brussels, Belgium to advocate for a GM tolerance level for future shipments. Meetings were held with EU Commissioners, Members of Parliament and key industry representatives to emphasize the importance of supporting science-based trade regulations.
The EU is Canada’s largest export market for soybeans. “In 2009, Canada exported approximately a million tonnes of soybeans to the EU,” says Kenny. “Allowing a low-level presence of unapproved GM in grain shipments would remove a barrier to future exports and provide security for Ontario grain farmers.”
2010 was a phenomenal year for soybean production in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba as a record 4.2 million tonnes were produced. Of this production, approximately 2.7 million tonnes will be exported.
This approval by the EU is promising and Grain Farmers of Ontario looks forward to a solution that also includes access for Canadian grains for uses in food.
Grain Farmers of Ontario
Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.