There's news today, announced by the U.S. Soybean Export Council, that the European Union has approved three biotech soy traits for import and processing. The latest three are:
• Monsanto's Roundup Ready 2 Xtend with dicamba and glyphosate tolerance
• Monsanto's Vistive Gold, which is a high oleic soybean with glyphosate tolerance.
• Bayer's Balance GT which offers tolerance to glyphosate and the company's HPPD inhibitor (developed with MS Technologies.
Earlier this year when Monsanto released Roundup Ready 2 Xtend to the market, with the proviso that farmers not apply dicamba this year since that U.S. trait has not yet cleared. While there are worries that some farmers ignored that requirement, the bigger issue was the fact that there was no EU clearance of the traits creating export concerns. Some major grain buyers put out the news that they would not take that crop into their elevators without EU approval.
This announcement, ahead of harvest, should allay some of those fears, and pave the way for all three technologies in future seasons. In a press statement, USSEC chair, Laura Foell, comments: "The EU's approval of these events is welcome news for U.S. soybean farmers. We're happy that we can supply our European customers with a reliable supply of safe food."
Europe is a major soybean customer with more than 165 million bushels of exports already in 2016.
For tech watchers, it's welcome news that the EU - which continues to harbor unsubstantiated hate for biotech crops - is moving forward. These aren't the only traits awaiting EU approval, but this three-trait announcement is welcome news to the market.
Lining up approvals for these traits and matching them to market production has been a challenge. Companies have made the commitment in the past not to market products without EU approval, but have worked on ways to contain production so those crops stay domestic. The EU slow slog through GMO approvals continues to challenge technology producers.
We welcome the good news from "across the pond" and hope for more good news in the future.