ORGANIC poultry farmers could face challenges balancing the diets of their stock after the EU Commission ruled out a relaxation of the rules surrounding genetically modified ingredients.

Vitamin B2 deficiencies can cause problems with nervous systems, the digestive tract and the sex organs, and can lead to increased mortality.

See also: The cost and returns of slower-growing broilers

Plant-based feeds contain too little vitamin B2 so it must be supplemented in rations.

But there is an acute shortage of GMO-free supplements on the market. Belgian MEP Kris Peeters highlighted the issue in the European Parliament in late March.

He called on the EU Commission to allow a derogation for Vitamin B2 “produced with GMOs so long as the supply of Vitamin B2 produced without GMOs remains insufficient to meet demand”.

But in responding in mid-May, the commission effectively ruled out such a derogation, suggesting that legislation, as it stands, would not permit it.

“The Commission does not intend to make a proposal allowing the possibility to use vitamin B2 feed additive produced by GMOs in organic production.”