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USMEF director warns Europe over food policies

By Carina Perkins , 26-Oct-2012

Related topics: Industry & Markets, Livestock, Beef, Pork, Lamb, Poultry, United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Russia, Poland, Sweden, EU, United States

Europe could be isolating itself from the world food market and risking food security by refusing to adopt new technologies, a leading figure in the US meat industry has warned.

Speaking to GlobalMeatNews.com at Sial 2012 in Paris this week, John Brook, US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) regional director for Europe, Russia and the Middle East, said that by maintaining a strict stance on technologies such as growth hormones and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the EU could be “walking away from its moral obligation to feed the world”.

“The EU is absolutely entitled to continue with policies of no GMOs and growth promoters, but the world needs food to be produced in the most effective and sustainable way,” he said, adding that by refusing to embrace new technologies, the EU was pricing itself out of the market and making life difficult for exporters.

Brook said US exporters had “made their peace” with the EU over the use of hormones for now, but that issues such as the use of ractopamine and lactic acid washing of beef carcases remained as barriers to trade.

He pointed out that disagreements between the US and EU on food safety and welfare issues could have an impact on future free trade negotiations between the two countries, with the EU already suggesting an agreement that excluded agriculture.

However, he added there were indications that people at a “very high political level” were in favour of a free trade agreement, with the estimated benefits so big that a compromise on agriculture could be possible.

Negotiations on free trade are not likely to begin until February next year, after the US presidential election and the interim period.

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