Food manufacturers have welcomed proposals to revise controversial biofuels targets to take into account their impact on food prices and the environment.
Currently, the EU is committed to supplying 10% of road transport fuels from renewables by 2020, which food manufacturers have argued will put an unacceptable strain on food prices as crops such as rapeseed, palm oil and corn are diverted into biofuel production.
The revised proposal, which Members of the European Parliament will vote on early this month, would keep the 10% target. However, this comes with the caveat that 40% of it must be met from 'second generation' biofuels such as those made from waste, lignocellulosic biomass or algae, rather than food crops - something the food industry has been calling for some time.
Moreover, to qualify, biofuels must save at least 45% of greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil fuels - a figure rising to 60% by 2015 (which would effectively exclude rapeseed and sugar beet). Finally, a review is also proposed in 2014, which would allow the targets to be scrapped altogether if they were having adverse effects on food prices or the environment.
Food trade association the CIAA said: "This addresses most food industry concerns. Food must remain the primary outlet for agricultural products."