LibertyLink soybeans from Bayer CropScience have received final approval from the European Commission for importation into the European Union for food and feed use, allowing the commercial launch of LibertyLink soybeans in the United States for the 2009 planting season.
“It has been more than 10 years since the EU approved a biotech-enhanced soybean variety for importation,” said Johnny Dodson, American Soybean Association first vice president and a soybean producer from Halls, Tenn., who chairs ASA's Biotech Working Group.
“We welcome the approval of LibertyLink soybeans and hope this approval will lead to a new era of timely, science-based EU reviews for biotech-enhanced seed products.”
The approval provides U.S. soybean producers with market access to nearly half a billion consumers living in the 27 EU member states of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
It provides livestock and poultry producers in those countries with access to high quality U.S. soybeans and soybean meal.
“Since Bayer's LibertyLink soybean technology is tolerant to glufosinate instead of glyphosate, farmers will have an additional in-crop weed control option,” Dodson said.
“Being able to alternate herbicides provides an effective management tool to minimize the selection for herbicide resistant weeds, which will enhance the sustainability of U.S. soybean production.”
In July, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture also granted a safety certificate for LibertyLink soybeans, which clears the way for imports of the soybeans into China, the largest importer of U.S. soybeans.
LibertyLink soybeans are fully approved for food, feed and cultivation in the United States and Canada, and for importation and/or cultivation in Argentina, Australia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa and Taiwan.
“U.S. growers look forward to this and several other new biotech-enhanced soybean varieties now under development that will offer important benefits to consumers, growers, and the environment, ranging from healthy oil profiles to increased yields to better weed control,” Dodson said.
“ASA and Bayer have worked in partnership to educate foreign buyers on biotechnology and for regulatory clearance of Bayer's LibertyLink soybean.”