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Joint Statement on the Commission Proposal on the Recast of the Renewable Energy Directive

 
                                                                                     We, European Associations representing several food and animal feed sectors ask the European Parliament to remove molasses from Annex IX of the Commission proposal on the Renewable Energy Directive. We believe that the Commission proposal to promote use of molasses for biofuels, through its inclusion in Annex IX, will divert molasses from well-established food and animal feed applications.
 
Molasses is a co-product of sugar production and, as a food and feed material, it has been used for decades for the production of:
  • Yeast, an essential ingredient in the food sector. In baking it gives us our daily bread; through brewing it brings us our glass of beer; through fermenting it produces European-famous wines.
  • For animal nutrition purposes, molasses is a highly valued energy-rich taste enhancer with pellet-binding qualities that increase the palatability and the homogeneity of feed, reducing the dusty nature of feed.
  • Citric acid, a natural antioxidant used to preserve the taste and appearance of food and beverages hereby contributing to the reduction of food waste.
  • Amino acids for human and animal nutrition as flavor enhancing and protein balancing feed additives and other applications.

In the food sector, regional specialties such as Belgian and Dutch speculoos and the cassonade would not be possible without molasses. Molasses are already used as a feedstock for first generation biofuel production. The Commission proposal to include molasses in Annex IX will only artificially incentivise its use for biofuels, at the expense of the molasses used in human and animal nutrition and put at risk the existence of traditional sectors of the European bioeconomy.

The European yeast, fermentation, brewery and bakery industries ask the European Parliament and the Council to remove molasses from Annex IX for the following reasons:
  • Molasses is neither a waste nor a residue but it is a food and feed material with a high nutritional and financial value. In line with circular economy and resource efficiency principles, high value food and feed uses should be prioritised over low-value energy uses.
  • There is not sufficient molasses to cover the additional demand for biofuels triggered by its inclusion in Annex IX. The EU currently already needs to import more than 1.5 million tons of molasses every year resulting in a structural deficit in the supply of molasses.1
  • The inclusion of molasses in Annex IX would likely entail significant indirect greenhouse gas emissions associated with the need for the fermentation, bakery, brewery and animal feed industries to replace, when possible, molasses with other feedstocks.2
  • By limiting the availability of molasses for several industrial sectors, the Commission policy is endangering the competitiveness of several sectors, such as the European yeast and fermentation industry, which heavily rely on molasses for the production of food and feed products. This would result in increased imports of products, such as yeast and citric acid, from third countries with significant job losses all over Europe.
  • There has not been an impact assessment on the consequences arising from the inclusion of molasses in Annex IX, in contradiction with the stated Commission commitment to evidence-based policy.
  • The inclusion of molasses in Annex IX will slow down the development of truly advanced biofuels coming from waste and residues which do not have competing uses.

 

1 According to the OECD/FAO Agricultural Outlook 2017-2026, the European Union will need to annually import much more than 1 million tonnes of molasses in the coming 8 years. In 2017, the EU would import almost 2 million tonnes of molasses. http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?datasetcode=HIGH_AGLINK_2016

2 International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), “Potential greenhouse gas savings from a 2030 greenhouse
gas reduction target with indirect emissions accounting for the European Union”, WORKING PAPER 2017-05, (5

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