GM Crops and Food Costs

August 15/London/The Express -- Milk, meat and egg prices could rocket by 20% because of foreign farmers growing more GM crops, experts warned.

U.K. animal feed, which is made mainly from soya, could quadruple in price within two years if growers in Brazil and Argentina produce more genetically modified soya, which is banned in Europe, according to government research.

Non-GM soya would rocket in price, making animal and poultry feed more expensive and ramping up U.K. meat and poultry costs by around a fifth. Farmers are worried they face unfair competition from countries which allow GM crops.

The National Farmers' Union director of policy Martin Haworth warned, "There is a very real danger that livestock producers, both here and across the EU, will be unable to compete."

The GM Crops And Foods report has been published jointly by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs and the Food Standards Agency. It says Britain's livestock farms rely on Brazil and Argentina for 90% of imported soya used in feed for poultry, cattle and pigs.

Defra's research outlines a worst-case scenario in which British farmers cannot buy soya from either Argentina or Brazil if they only grow GM crops - the use of which is banned in the U.K.

Feed costs would soar by 300%, while U.K. pork and poultry production would plunge by up to 68%. As a result, the report suggests, shop prices for meat and poultry would jump by up to 20%.  

From the August 17, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition