Aldi Initiative: more animal welfare also means less genetic engineering

- Aldi has announced that by 2030 it will only offer fresh meat from husbandry categories 3 and 4. In addition to better husbandry, more space and outdoor exercise, this also means more "Ohne Gentechnik“ [Non-GMO]. This is because only non-GMO feed is allowed from husbandry category 3 and up. REWE and Edeka have announced that they will follow Aldi's example.

Photo: obs/Kaufland

The announcement has made waves and was welcomed by consumer and environmental associations. However, the aspect of GMO-free feeding associated with this has so far tended to take a back seat, even though it has far-reaching consequences. If "Ohne Gentechnik" fresh meat is to be offered predominantly from 2030, this will make continued reliable GM regulation and labeling even more important; any deregulation would also jeopardize this project.

Pointing out GMO-free and certifying it independently

VLOG managing director Alexander Hissting welcomes the announcements by Aldi, REWE and Edeka: "The major food retailers know what their customers want. Better husbandry conditions for the animals and GMO-free feed - that is a convincing overall package! In their own interest, companies should also point out that their products are GMO-free. For the credibility of the label, it is important that it is based on independent certification. With the VLOG seals 'Ohne Gentechnik' for food and 'VLOG geprüft' for animal feed, there is already a well-functioning and established system for this. This allows consumers to make an educated purchasing decision."

Backlog in pork

In the poultry sector, all private labels have already switched to GMO-free feeding. However, the pork sector, in particular, still has a lot of catching up to do. So far, only a few pioneers such as Kaufland also offer a wide range of ‚Ohne Gentechnik‘ pork products at their service counters. Of course, such a change in husbandry and feed will not happen overnight and will cost time and money. "That's why it is good that retailers are announcing the changeover at an early stage, thus ensuring planning security," says Alexander Hissting.

Planning reliability for the entire production chain

Planning reliability is not only needed by pig farmers; rather, it is necessary throughout the entire feed production chain, starting from the production of soybeans. "The commitment shown by the food retailers must likewise be passed on from raw material traders to soy producers in South America and Ukraine, so that sufficient quantities of GMO-free beans can be produced in good time and so that certified, GMO-free cultivation can be expanded," demands VLOG’s managing director.

The press release by Aldi and Co. could also be a reason for regional quality seals such as the "Qualitätsprogramm Geprüfte Qualität (GQ) Bayern" (Quality Program Tested Quality [GQ] Bavaria) to supplement their own criteria with the aspect of GMO-free feed.

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