The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has called for an impact assessment of the European Commission’s proposal for a EU Regulation to permit Member States to ban the use of genetically modified food and feed on their territory.

The Commission’s GMO proposal states that such prohibitions or restrictions must be reasoned and based on compelling grounds and must not conflict with a risk assessment prepared by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

According to the Minister the matter was discussed at the last Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels on July 13 and strong opposition to the proposal as it currently stands was shown by almost all Member States.

“At the Council meeting, I, along with other colleagues, called upon the EU Commission to carry out an impact assessment of the proposal as a basis for further discussions,” the Minister said.

In addition, the Minister said he raised concerns on compatibility with WTO rules and highlighted that implementation of this proposal would have a disproportionate impact on those Member States that are most heavily dependent on imports of GMO protein feed to supplement livestock diet, such as Ireland.

“I also expressed the view that the proposal should not undermine relations with third countries that currently export significant quantities of GMO feed to the EU,” he said.

The Minister also said that the concerns outlined by me at the Council meeting are shared by the Irish feed industry with whom my Department has been in consultation in relation to the EU Commission’s proposals.