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Demand for non-genetically modified food, feed ingredients on the rise

(April 25, 2002 – CropChoice news) – The following are briefs about increasing demand for non-transgenic food and feed.


The country’s second-largest feed compounder, Versele-Laga, has begun promoting non-transgenic feed to its customers. Other major feed compounders, including Aveve (the largest with a 15 percent market share) have already committed to non-GM feed.

The Belgian Professional Association of Compound Feed Manufacturers announced in January that it will work to provide consumers with food that’s free of genetically modified organisms. To that end, it will publish standards for certified non-transgenic feed mixes for animals; see reference at http://www.agrisalon.com/06-actu/article-2967.php.

In 1998, the Amylum Group adopted a policy under which it will not allow genetically modified corn in its Western European operations. This policy also applies in its joint venture Eastern European and Turkish operations. The policy is based on the following principles:

  • Amylum operations will only purchase corn from traditional, non-GM seeds. This requirement has been integrated in all supplier contracts.
  • Procedures have been developed and implemented at all levels of the supply chain to establish a documented system to ensure traceability and, where needed, segregation and identify preservation of non-GM corn. These procedures are periodically subjected to both internal and independent third party review.
  • Systematic sampling and PCR-testing is conducted to confirm the non-GM character of the corn.
  • These procedures are also being integrated in the Quality Assurance Systems of the respective units and are auditable.
  • The Amylum Group is confident that this policy will reassure its customers about Amylum's commitment to respond appropriately to customer demand for non-GM products.


The U.S. ag attache in France has reported that demand for non-transgenic soybeans in livestock feed continues. The source of that feed: Brazil. The French feed industry is asking their suppliers of soybeans and soybean meal to label products containing more than 1 percent of biotech materials.

French oilseed planting is expected to decline this year, with rapeseed planting down about 3 percent to 1.1 million hectares (2.66 million acres). Yields will be higher, but production is expected to drop below 3 million metric tons because of the smaller acreage. Sunflower seed plantings are expected to decline by about 6 to 8 percent in 2002 from 2001, because of reduced direct payments to growers. But, yields are expected to be higher than abnormally low yields of 2001. French acreage of sunflower seed is estimated at 660,000 hectares (1.483 million acres), and sunflower seed production at 1.58 million metric tons for 2002.

The termination of the government support payments to growers of non-biotech soybean is likely to reduce soybean plantings and production in 2002 from 2001 to 100,000 ha and 250,000 metric tons, respectively, the attaché said.


By the beginning of April, the feed for the pigs and cows whose meat Famila and Combi marketed no longer included genetically modified soybeans or antibiotic growth-promoters.

The Bremke und Hoerster company reportedly has decided to substantially improve its range of products by putting the new "Arnsberger" brand on sale at counters selling fresh meat. To avoid confusion conventional meat and sausages products will only be on self-service shelves.

Only farmers in Sauerland and north Muensterland will produce meat for the new brand, thus avoiding transporting animals. Bremke and Hoerster officials said the company will keep a meticulous record of how the animals are kept and raised. Poultry produced by the Wiesenhof company sold by Famila has also only been fed without transgenic soybeans. Bremke und Hoerster, which purchases mainly in North-Rhine Westphalia, is among the top twenty companies in the German food trade.


According to an opinion poll released in the Jan. 18 edition of ATL Farming Weekly, 77 per cent of Swedish farmers will not consider growing GMO crops on their land. In 1998, when this annual poll was first conducted, the figure was 70 per cent.

Answers vary slightly according to region, with small farm and animal farming regions more negative. But even in the least negative region, 74 per cent of farmers come out against.

Conversely, only 15 per cent explicitly state that they are positive to growing GMOs. This figure is down by several percentage points since 1998. Interestingly, 'Don't know' answers are also down. Fewer than 10 per cent of farmers do not take a stand.

The poll was conducted on a statistical sample of 1,000 farmers with over 20 hectares of arable land in December 2001.

Australia and New Zealand

In its Australian and New Zealand operations, Unilever reportedly will work to eliminate genetically modified ingredients from its foods. It buys dairy ingredients locally and suppliers supposedly use non-transgenic feed.

United States

Many American farmers and grain elevators are re-thinking when it comes to planting GM varieties of corn. The American Corn Growers Association (http://www.acga.org) reports that over half of the elevators surveyed last autumn are requiring segregation of GM from non-GM varieties either upon arrival at the elevator or on the farm. Almost 20 percent reported offering premiums for non-GM corn or non-GM soybeans. The survey included 1,149 grain elevators in 11 mid-western states. "The results of our survey clearly show the increasing level of concern that grain elevators have regarding their ability to meet the needs of foreign buyers and hold on to export customers," said Larry Mitchell, CEO of the ACGA. The number of acres planted to GM varieties of corn dropped from about 25 million in 1999 to approximately 16.4 million in 2001. "The burden of on-farm segregation, combined with the premiums being offered for conventional, non-GM varieties, together with the realisation that GMOs are jeopardising export markets, are apparently becoming stronger incentives."

Of those surveyed, 78 percent stated that it is important or very important to consider the concerns of U.S. consumers and foreign markets when deciding what varieties to plant. Seventy-four percent of the corn farmers surveyed stated that the rejection of GM corn and soybeans by foreign countries is contributing to low commodity prices, and 78 percent said they are willing to plant non-GM corn varieties instead of biotech GM varieties in order to keep customers satisfied and world markets open to U.S. corn. The survey was conducted in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, and South Dakota. It showed 276 elevators requiring segregation, 70 strongly suggesting segregation, 310 requiring on-farm segregation, 286 requiring farmers to schedule their delivery of grain in advance, and 206 offering premiums for non-GM corn or soyabeans. The premiums reported ranged from five cents to 35 cents per bushel.


Brazil has been winning more and more fans on global markets because of its ban on GM crops. Brazil's corn exports have reached all time highs and last month it doubled its soybean exports: Sao Paulo, Brazil, March 21 – Brazil registered 4.8 million tons of soybeans for export in February, above the 2.2 million registered last year, the Brazilian Association of Vegetable Oils Industries (Abiove) said.