When was the last time you heard that Russia’s policy is more enlightened and forward thinking than that of U.S. on any issue? Russia is a country whose previous regime decimated its citizens (think Stalin years), kept millions of people living in fear of the Big Brother watching their every step, imprisoned dissidents in insane asylums, and whose current “democratic” government does not appear very democratic to many. That is why I was surprised to learn that Russia has a GM food policy that actually stands with the people and not against them.
Russia Now, the online supplemental publication of Rossiyskaya Gazeta, is reporting that growing genetically modified plants is banned in Russia. Furthermore, the national food market could be seen as a “GM-free zone,” because the percentage of GM food in Russia is low.
That’s not to say, however, that GM foods are not allowed or entirely absent in Russia. For example, GM soy is used for feed in the cattle-breeding industry. Furthermore, 16 varieties of GM food products are allowed in Russia - eight types of maize, six types of potato, one type of rice and one variant of sugar beet. Nevertheless, GM levels in Russian food remain low, for now anyway. According to a Greenpeace coordinator in Russia, an inspection carried out by Greenpeace in the Moscow region showed that only 0.4pc of food products tested positive for GM, with levels varying from 0.1 to 0.5pc (figures that have been confirmed by a government agency). Under Russian law, if the GM percentage in a product is less than 0.9pc, the producer is entitled to mark it as a GM-free product.
It appears that the low presence of GM food in Russia can be attributed to food standards legislation, anti-GM campaigns and less-than-accepting public opinion.
While a more in-depth analysis into the laws and regulations, as well as their implementation, is needed to fully analyze Russia’s approach to GM foods, the fact that growing GM plants is forbidden, that current GM levels are low and that there is a lively public debate on the issues, does point to the fact that Russians are one step ahead of the Americans. If any cold-war sentiment still exists, I must admit America, on this issue, Russia scores. Check and mate.
Read the original article for more details: Genetically modified food in Russia: something to worry about?