The Food Standards Agency has failed to support a ban on a poultry feed additive which contains the antimicrobial drug, nicarbazin. Nicarbazin residues have been a persistent problem in a high proportion of UK-produced chicken liver and in some chicken meat, but can also be found in more than a quarter of a million eggs eaten each day by British consumers. An EU scientific review found that a safe level for residues could not be established because the company producing the feed additive, Elanco, had failed to provide sufficient scientific evidence to prove that the chemical is not capable of causing damage to genes, genetic mutations, birth deformities or malformations. Despite the findings of their scientific advisers, the European Commission and the UK’s Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) have used a legal loophole to permit the continued routine use of nicarbazin in the intensive poultry industry.
Yorkshire Post (13 Mar)
Soil Association press release (6 Mar): ‘Regulators should ban poultry feed additive Maxiban’
Letter: ‘GM crops have nothing to offer’
Clio Turton of the Soil Association writes, ‘Simon Usborne claims that “organic farming doesn’t add up” and that “nature needs GM crops” (”Don’t believe the greenwash”, 3 March). Organic farming doesn’t claim to be a high-output system, but rather aims to be an optimal output system, producing sufficient quantities of great-quality food without environmental or animal-welfare compromises. However, in many parts of the world, modern organic systems can, and do, produce as much or more food than both oil/chemical-based non-organic farming and traditional systems. GM crops do not increase yields, as GM campaigners claim. In the real world, the latest, higher-yielding varieties of soya sold in the US are not GM but from normal crop breeding. As labelling of GM (which Barack Obama favours) starts to force its way into the US marketplace, the last stronghold of GM food is crumbling. This is an old technology with nothing to offer the future.’
The Independent (14 March, p.32)