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Italy urges U.S. farmers, processors to segregate, label biotech feed

(January 30, 2001 -- Cropchoice news) -- With European concern over Mad Cow disease and genetically engineered foods running high, the Italian agriculture minister last week encouraged U.S. farmers and processors to segregate and label all genetically modified animal feed or else face the high probability that Europe won't buy it.

"The Italian and European necessity to increase the use of vegetable proteins in animal feed for all farmed animals makes it urgent and essential that soy and corn (maize) exporting countries, including the USA, guarantee full segregation and isolation of genetically modified (GM) organisms from natural ones in order to allow full traceability and labelling," wrote Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio in a letter to his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman.

The European Commission is drafting a Novel Feed regulation that includes mandatory segregation and labeling of genetically modified organisms. The Commission aims to enact the regulation by the end of the year. If it fails to do so, Italy might institute equally strict interim measures, according to the Italian Ministry of Agriculture. Germany also wants regulations as soon as possible.

France, Germany, Italy and Hungary (not a member of the European Union), respectively, import the most animal feed in Europe.

Europe increasingly has turned to Brazil, where the cultivation and sale of biotech crops are banned, to meet its need for animal feed.