EU Approves New Biotech Traits

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American Soybean Association (ASA) President and Greenwood, Del., soybean farmer Richard Wilkins welcomed news this morning out of Brussels that the European Union has approved three outstanding biotech soybean traits for import and processing.

The approved traits include the Xtend dicamba-tolerant soybean and Vistive Gold high oleic soybean products from Monsanto, and the Balance GT FG72 soybean from Bayer CropScience. In a statement, Wilkins welcomed the action of the EU, while noting that improvements still are needed in the timeliness of EU approvals.  The three soybean events had received positive scientific opinions from the European Food Safety Agency over a year ago, and had been waiting for final approval by the EU Commission since January.

“We are very relieved to see these three traits approved for import into the European Union, as today’s announcement represents a clearing of an important hurdle for the commercialization of these valuable products in the U.S. In Europe, the approval means that the EU’s livestock and feed industry, which is more than 70 percent dependent on imported feed, can get the high-quality protein it needs. In the U.S., American farmers need an ever-increasing range of tools to tackle the challenge of resistant weeds that now impact nearly every soy-growing state. Similarly, with the continuing move away from trans-fats in American diets, farmers need additional tools to produce soybeans that meet that market demand as well.

“With today’s announcement, we hope that we can take solid steps to ensure that the approvals of new biotech traits in our major markets continues to improvebut there is still work to be done. Given the commoditized nature of our soybeans, we simply can’t take the risk that unapproved traits make their way into the grain export stream and result in rejected shipments abroad. But the longer and more tedious that process is, the more barriers stand between soybean farmers and their productivity, and the less incentive our technology partners have to bring these new products to market.”

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