As discerning Americans are opting for organically grown food and increasing such imports, the Board of Directors of European dairy co-operative Arla have noticed that prices for organic milk continue to hold up well and have now decided to cover the costs of farmer members conversion to GM free feed.
On the other hand, a report issued by America’s National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, a private advisory body, though confirming that there have been no studies into the long-term human health impact of GM food consumption, assert that genetically modified food is safe for human consumption …
The European market is increasingly demanding dairy products from GM free fed cows and customers are willing to pay a price premium. Arla wants to meet this growing demand from the trans-European retailers.
According to Chairman Åke Hantoft, Arla already owns the biggest organic milk pool in the world as Swedish farmers have always used GM free feed – so around 20% of Arla’s milk pool already meets this market demand. He wants to attract more farmers who are willing to convert to GM free feed because of the commercial potential – not because Arla’s owners are opposed to GM in principle.
Arla will compensate those farmers who convert to GM free feed and also those who opt for organic conversion:
“Our immediate demand is up to 1bn kg extra milk during the next 12 months and we expect to be able to pay an extra 1 eurocent per kg milk. The market driven compensation will also be paid to all our Swedish farmers, who already use GM free feed. We do not know exactly from when, but we are working fast to unfold the details,” says CEO Peder Tuborgh.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have gone further than this – they want a total ban the growing of GM crops, as do 19 EU states including Germany and France, but the current British government has indicated it is willing to consider allowing, this and meet the needs of already wealthy corporates.