The American Soybean Association (ASA) has been waiting for five months to hear from an Appeals Committee concerning the European Union’s approval of three soybean traits. Now they’re ramping up their call for action with a letter to European Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis.
Currently the three traits awaiting approval are: Monsanto’s dicamba-tolerant RR2Xtend, Vistive Gold high oleic traits and Bayer CropScience’s isoxaflutole-resistant Balance Bean trait. Last year all three received positive opinions from the European Food Safety Authority, yet approval is still pending.
“The Commission’s lack of action in providing final authorization for these soy events has already caused unnecessary uncertainty, disruption and cost in the agricultural supply chain. Immediate authorization by the European Commission is needed to avoid substantial additional unnecessary costs and possible disruption to the essential supply of feedstocks needed by the EU’s livestock, poultry and feed industries, which are more than 70 percent dependent on imports of vegetable protein,” the letter stated.
ASA also cited repeated assurances over the course of several months from EU officials that approval of the three traits was imminent as providing a false sense of security for farmers looking to utilize the traits to meet sustainability goals and comply with the food industry’s ongoing move away from trans fats in the American marketplace.
“As the threat of resistant weeds continues to move across soybean country, and the specter of increased input costs coupled with a down farm economy looms over so many soybean farmers, we need more options in the marketplace. We are not benefited by new products that are stuck in a malfunctioning approvals pipeline,” said ASA President Richard Wilkins, a farmer from Greenwood, Del. “Add to that the ability of high-oleic soy to help answer the growing market for cooking oils free of trans fats, and you see the real value in these three traits.
“The European Commission must abide by the timelines set out in in its own regulations, as well as its obligations under the World Trade Organization, and give these traits the approvals that it has said are forthcoming,” Wilkins added.