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Import of GM Maize and By-Products and Soya Meal into Ireland not affected by non-decision in Council of Ministers on unauthorised Herculex GM Maize Variety

The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Trevor Sargent TD, today stated his objective was to help farmers by promoting Irish produce as being of the highest quality, while keeping costs as low as possible without compromising that high quality.

Accepting the reality that two thirds of raw materials used in Irish compound feed is imported from outside the EU and that 95% of these products come from EU authorised GM crops, Minister Sargent said: "In my view the Government objective to seek to negotiate an island wide GM free zone is not about banning imported GM feed, it is about not growing GM crops and not proliferating GM pollen, GM seed dispersal and super-weeds in the Irish countryside."

Minister Sargent continued: "The decision by Ireland to abstain on the recent EU Council vote on GM animal feeds is in line with France and Italy which also abstained. France and Italy are major buyers of Irish produce. Had Ireland voted 'yes' it would not have affected the outcome of the vote. It is expected the EU Commission will now move quickly to approve the unauthorised GM feed imports.

"Ireland's abstention is not inconsistent with the commitment in the programme for Government to seek to negotiate a GM free island of Ireland. The abstention was the most appropriate position for Ireland to take given that a process has now begun, involving the relevant Departments, (Agriculture, Fisheries & Food; Enterprise, Trade & Employment; Health & Children and Environment, Heritage & Local Government) to elaborate this commitment and tease out its implications for policy. The French, Italians and others are involved in similar processes," concluded Minister Sargent.

28 September 2007

Date Released: 28 September 2007