Russia will not import genetically modified organism (GMO) products, the country’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said recently, adding that the nation has enough space and resources to produce organic food.
(In Canada, years ago, then-Prime Minister Jean Chretien opened the gates wide to grasping corporations like Monsanto and Cargill by refusing even to require labeling of genetically modified organisms so Canadians would at least have a choice.)
Moscow has no reason to encourage the production of genetically modified products or import them into the country, Medvedev told a congress of deputies from rural settlements.
“If the Americans like to eat GMO products, let them eat it then. We don’t need to do that; we have enough space
and opportunities to produce organic food,” Medvedev said.
The prime minister said he ordered widespread monitoring of the agricultural sector. He added that despite rather strict restrictions, a certain amount of GMO products and seeds have made it to the Russian market.
Medvedev spoke at a meeting of United Russia deputies from Russian rural villages in Volgograd on April 5, 2014. (RIA Novosti / Ekaterina Shtukina)
Earlier, agriculture minister Nikolay Fyodorov also stated that Russia should remain free of genetically modified products.
At the end of February, the Russian parliament asked the government to impose a temporary ban on all genetically altered products in Russia.
The State Duma’s Agriculture Committee supported a ban on the registration and trade of genetically modified organisms. It was suggested that until specialists develop a working system of control over the effects of GMOs on humans and the natural environment, the government should impose a moratorium on the breeding and growth of genetically modified plants, animals, and microorganisms.
Earlier this month, MPs of the parliamentary majority United Russia party, together with the ‘For Sovereignty’ parliamentary group, suggested an amendment of the existing law On Safety and Quality of Alimentary Products, with a norm set for the maximum allowed content of transgenic and genetically modified components.
There is currently no limitation on the trade or production of GMO-containing food in Russia. However, when
the percentage of GMO exceeds 0.9 percent, the producer must label such goods and warn consumers. Last autumn, the government passed a resolution allowing the listing of genetically modified plants in the Unified State Register. The resolution will come into force in July.