Delays on Deck: European Biotech Approval Process Slow

biotechnology

Farmer voices needed to urge quicker approval of biotech traits

What’s next for biotech approvals in one of U.S. soy’s biggest international markets, the European Union? David Green, senior technical consultant for the U.S. Soybean Export Council, says the biggest problem is political interference and delays in the region’s approval process.

“The biggest hurdle in the EU is length of time needed to approve biotech traits,” says Green. “The process is barely functioning, and it’s taking more than twice the time laid down in EU legislation.”

Political interference in the regulatory process is the main reason for this delay, as member countries have the right to reject traits even after scientists from those countries have tested and approved them.

Despite this delay, Green says farmers must work with their state and national agricultural organizations to continue to push for biotech approval given the EU’s importance as a market for U.S. soy and also its influence on biotech decisions in other world markets.

“There’s no question that farmers’ voices are really powerful,” he says. “It doesn’t always lead people to change their minds, but it does get their attention.”