Checks on GM contamination

2 June 2000

Checks on GM contamination

NON-GM and organic livestock producers concerned that animal feed may be contaminated by GM material after recent oilseed rape and maize seed fiascos should be reassured, say crushers.

Cargills feed and grains marketing manager, Martin Douglas, says it will be spot checking supplies to crushing plants for contaminated seed. "If consumers then require it, we could segregate GM contaminated seed so it does not enter the animal feed chain."

But it appears the current scandal is unlikely to affect animal feeds whether it is ploughed in or not, because no GM-contaminated seed planted contained GM levels above 1%.

When you account for dilution during growing and animal feed manufacture, it is extremely unlikely to be included in animal feeds above the EU permitted level of 1%, says Mr Douglas.

This will please retailer Marks & Spencer which launches non-GM fed livestock products in October. A spokesman for the company told farmers weekly that its non-GM fed livestock suppliers had to meet and follow a written specification guaranteeing livestock have been fed on non-GM feed.

Nevertheless, those concerned about rapeseed meal have the same options as with soya or maize feed. "Either remove soya, maize or rapeseed meal from animal diets, or buy feed from a supplier that uses a third party accreditation service to certify that the feed is non-GM."

For organic producers concerns are probably greater, due to a zero tolerance policy for GMs. For this reason, Soil Association spokesman Harry Hadaway says these oilseed rape crops must be ploughed in before they go to seed.

"We are calling for these to be destroyed, as we do not want them in the animal feed chain, where they will be really hard to keep out." &#42

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