UK retailers ‘misled’ about tight non-GM feed supply, say suppliers

By Caroline SCOTT-THOMAS contact

- Last updated on GMT

Abrange claims that the shortage is temporary and due to a lack of berths for mooring ships in Brazil
Abrange claims that the shortage is temporary and due to a lack of berths for mooring ships in Brazil

Related tags: Soybean, Asda

UK retailers have been misled about tight supply of non-genetically modified (GM) feed, which led them to reverse requirements for GM-free poultry feed, according to the Brazilian Association of Non-GMO Grain Producers (Abrange).

The association said in a statement that it was ‘puzzled’ by the announcements from UK supermarket chains Sainsbury, Tesco, Asda, The Co-op, Marks & Spencer and Morrisons that they could no longer guarantee that their poultry was fed on 100% GM-free feed.

M&S, for example, said in a statement: “This change in policy is absolutely necessary because there is now a much reduced supply of non-GM feed available to UK farmers.”

Incorrect information?

“We believe the retailers’ decisions have been based upon incorrect information,”​ Abrange said in a statement.

The association said that one of the large suppliers of non-GM soy to the UK had been telling its customers since December that it would no longer be able to supply non-GM soy because of supply concerns.

“This assertion is, however, not accurate​,” Abrange said, adding that about a quarter of Brazil’s soy harvest this year was non-GM.

“This year, Brazil has enjoyed a record soybean harvest over 82 million metric tons, bigger than the United States and definitely large enough to more than provide Europe’s entire soy meal demand, including the United Kingdom’s,”​ it said.

Temporary shortage

However, Abrange added that there was a temporary shortage in non-GM soy supplies to export markets but this was part of a wider problem of increased pressure on Brazilian export facilities. Increased demand for Brazilian exports of all kinds has led to a shortage of berths for mooring ships in ‘virtually every Brazilian port’.

“This situation is temporary, as exporters are actively seeking solutions to circumvent the export slow down,”​ it said.

“Although one large supplier of non-GMO soy has withdrawn from the market, others continue to supply, and assure that they are still quite capable of consistently delivering material to UK customers.”

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