Brussels, 19 March 2001
Commission presents report on plant proteins in the light of the meat and bone meal ban
The European Commission today presented its report on the supply of plant proteins to satisfy the additional demand for plant protein in animal feed. The demand mainly stems from the ban on uses of processed animal proteins (PAP)(1) in farmed livestock feed adopted by the Council in December 2000 to reinforce guarantees to consumers on the safety of their food. Its analysis of a number of key options to promote the cultivation of plant proteins in the EU leads to the conclusion that they are either excessively costly, have particular WTO implications or are not well suited to replace PAP. Moreover, the relatively limited quantities of soya meal needed to satisfy this additional demand for protein (1-1.5 Mio t) (2) can easily be imported, according to the Communication adopted today, adding only some 5% to our current imports of soya meal. (As a result of the MBM ban, the shortage of protein is expected to be covered by a combination of domestic cereals, imported soya meal and improved efficiency in feed use). Soya meal is the best suited to replace PAP and there is no problem in terms of its availability on the world market.
Context of the Communication
The Council agreed in December to extend to non-ruminants the ban on the use of processed animal proteins in animal feed to reinforce guarantees to consumers on the safety of their food. Given the important role of PAPs in animal production, the Council called on the Commission to analyse the supply and demand for protein-rich plants and to draw the consequences for the policy currently being pursued in this sector and for set-aside.
In response, the Commission is presenting two documents to the Council and the European Parliament, firstly a working document on the "Supply and demand of protein-rich crops in the EU following the BSE crisis". This paper analyses the use of protein within the EU and includes a first assessment of possible changes in feed use following the current BSE crisis and the ban on PAP in feed decided in December. The second document is a communication to the Council and the European Parliament on options to promote the cultivation of plant proteins in the EU, which is based on the working document.
According to the Communication, there is no major problem to replace protein from animal meal by protein from plants. In the immediate future, the main substitutes for PAP will be cereals and soya meal. The ban on PAP in feed will not lead to any shortage of protein in the EU or on the world markets. Should the markets become short because of other reasons in the longer run (e.g. unexpected increases in world demand or reductions of supply) prices would increase and set strong incentives to increase production of oilseeds and protein crops, in the EU and elsewhere. However, for the near future oil meals will be widely available on the market and it is probable that prices will decrease rather than increase. Therefore, the ban should not give rise to the introduction of new or more costly support schemes for plant proteins in the EU.
Options to promote the cultivation of plant proteins in the EU
All the options analysed in this report(3) to increase plant protein production in the EU in the short and medium run (next 2-5 years) appear problematic:
Mr Fischler, presenting the report, said that the Commission was open to any alternative feasible option, provided that such an option avoided the disadvantages that characterised the options analysed by the Commission.
(1) PAP means meat-and-bone meal, meat meal, bone meal, blood meal, dried plasma and other blood products, hydrolised proteins, hoof meal, horn meal, poultry and offal meal, feather meal, dry greaves, fishmeal, dicalcium phosphate, gelatine and any other similar products including mixtures, feedingstuffs, feed additives and premixtures containing these products.
(2) For the pig and poultry sectors, two main factors are influencing (in fact increasing) the feed demand; firstly, the ban on PAP decided in December; secondly, a switch in consumption from beef to pig and poultry meat, following the BSE crisis (hence increased production and feed demand in these sectors). For the beef sector feed demand is being influenced by the fact that animals are being held back on farms. The expected response of the animal feed sector to the PAP ban is: that the feeding of protein-rich ingredients will be reduced nearer to the minimum zoo-technical requirements, leading to a slight overall reduction of the use of crude protein in animal feed and that the uptake of cereals in animal feed will be increased. Taking account of all of the above, the additional quantities of soya meal needed would appear to be 1-1.5 Mio t.
(3) Based on simulations carried out by the Commission services