Europe's biotechnology industry has warned the European Commission that agricultural imports vital to EU food security are increasingly being put at risk, due to the slow pace of the bloc's approval system for genetically modified (GM) crops.
EU policy on GM crops has long been politically fraught, with a majority of consumers opposed to modified foods, but the bloc reliant on imports of about 30 million tonnes of GM animal feed each year -- equivalent to 60 kg per person.
EuropaBio estimates the EU's approval process takes 15-20 months longer, on average, than in the three top global exporters of GM crops -- the United States, Brazil and Canada.
The number of GM crops awaiting approval in Europe has risen from about 50 at the end of 2007 to 72 today -- 51 for import and 21 for cultivation.
For more, see: Biotech firms warn EU over pace of GM crop approvals