Animal feed with GM components can be further used in Poland

Since January 1, 2019, the Polish regulations extends the use of genetically modified (GM) components in animal feed for the next two years, until January 1,  2021.

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The discussions about the GM components in animal feed have had a long history in Poland. In 2006, Poland adopted restrictive provisions banning the use of the GM components in animal feed in the National Legal Act on Feed. Originally these provisions were going into force in 2008. At that time, the Polish government claimed that the reason for introducing this ban was the lack of data about the impact of GM components in feed for animals and animal products. Since 2006, the relevant research has been done by the Polish scientific institutes and no negative impact of GM components was recognized for the quality and safety of animal products, animals and health of people. Therefore, the date of entry of this ban to use the GM components in animal feed has already been postponed several times, until January 1, 2013, then until January 1, 2017, until January 1, 2019 and finally until January 1, 2021. 

One of the reasons of further extension of the use of GM components in animal feed is to prevent shortages of protein ingredients in animal feed. Soybean meal is an important component of animal feed which Poland imports (around 2 M tons per year) mainly from Argentina, Brazil, the USA. The Polish Ministry of Agriculture envisages to at least partially become independent from the import of soybean meal, and therefore it put into force two multi-annual research programmes to create opportunities for an increase of domestic protein. Research programmes included actions related to developing technologies and varieties of protein plants that can be grown in the Polish climate, and their production for farmers would be profitable. For example, field tests are carried out on the cultivation of different species of soybeans at different locations. Considering the changing climate conditions in Poland (warmer climate) and some further tests regarding the optimal species, there are some expert views that in a few years (5-7 years) there will be a Polish variety of soya. In addition, the Polish Ministry of Agriculture is now verifying if a rapeseed meal, which is of a large availability in Poland, could be a good substitution of soybean meal.

The Polish Minister of Agriculture has informed the public at his New Year’s press conference that he shall develop a plan for the use of domestic protein sources in animal nutrition. The plan will contain, in particular, an indication of: alternative sources of protein to the genetically modified protein; opportunities to increase the share of domestic protein sources in feed; actions that should be taken to limit the import of GM soybean meal.