"If we do not have a decision in November we could have an enormous problem," Klaus-Dieter Schumacher of European grain and oilseeds trade association Coceral said. "We need these soy supplies now."
EU imports of soybeans from the US needed to produce animal feed are at a virtual standstill because of the EU's zero-tolerance rule on imports with traces of GMOs which have not yet been approved in the bloc.
The EU has approved a string of GMO products, mainly corn and soy types, but does not permit the presence of non-approved GMOs, even in tiny amounts, until they are also approved.
About 180,000 tonnes of US soy were denied entry to EU ports in past months as they contained traces of three GMO maize types still not approved by the EU.
The EU farming sector faces "a looming crisis" as Europe needs six to 7.5 million tonnes of North American soybeans between October and March 2010 because low harvests in South America this year have cut alternative supplies, said a statement from feed industry and grain trade associations Fediol, Fefac and Coceral plus farming association Copa-Cogeca.
The EU needed "to show political courage" and approve a workable low-level presence of GMOs to allow urgently-needed imports to take place, Schumacher said.
EU farm ministers on Monday made no decisions on GMO approvals. The European Commission said it would make a quick decision on the wider issue of full approval of the GMO maize but gave no timescale.
Siegfried Falk, analyst at German oilseeds analysts Oil World, said: "A decision is of growing importance as week for week the supply position is getting more difficult."
Nina Papadoulaki, the EU executive's health spokeswoman, said a decision on low-level tolerance would come as soon as possible but gave no likely date.
"The question on the technical level is still under discussion but there is no official decision," Papadoulaki said.
She added a swift approval of the three GMO maize types by the Commission was also expected to help alleviate the problem.
(EurActiw with Reuters.)