[FI] Finnish meat producers plan to use GM feed

Two Finnish meat producers are planning to introduce genetically modified feeds for their animals. Such a decision by the companies LSO Foods and Atria may prompt smaller companies to follow. Since no legal requirements exist to label meat from animals fed with genetically modified feed, consumers will be unable to recognise the difference.

The Finnish Minister of Agriculture, Sirkka-Liisa Anttilahat, reacted by demanding that the industry provide labelling for meat derived from animals fed with genetically modified foods. “Consumers must have the right to know how, and with sort of feed, meat is produced,” Anttilahat stated. The environmental organisation “Finnish League for Nature Protection” has called for mandatory labelling to inform consumers whether GM feeds have been used during meat production.

Furthermore, the issue represents a dilemma for the Finnish Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners, MTK. While aiming to promote Finnish food as being pure and unaltered, the organisation also must support the economic interests of its farmers. MTK chairman, Michael Hornborg, has stated that there is a diversity of opinion within his organisation on genetically modified feeds. Dairy farmers generally shun such feeds, while pig farmers are more willing to accept them. Hornborg states support for the right of consumers to know what their food contains, and declared, "If a gene label is required on Finnish meat, it should be included on foreign products as well."

However, Tero Hemmilä, the CEO of LSO foods, which intends to introduce GM feed, has argued, “EU legislation is straightforward. The genetic modifications in the plant are not passed onto animal tissue through digestion or there into meat or milk. Consequently, there is no need to mark it down.”

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently has published a statement on genetically modified feeds. It concluded that a large number of studies demonstrate that neither fragments of the transgenic DNA, nor the proteins derived from GM plants, are detectable in tissues, fluids, or edible products of farm animals such as broiler poultry, quail, cattle or pigs.




Finland