The Russian government doesn't buy into America's genetically modified seed hype so easily. In fact, the Russian government takes a hard stance against the patented seeds, since some are spliced with bacteria to produce insecticide from within.
When this kind of lab-manipulated food finds its way into the Russian marketplace, it must be evaluated, scrutinized and labeled appropriately. Current Russian laws require that foodstuffs with 0.9 percent GMO ingredients by weight be labeled accordingly, warning consumers of the transgenic material.
There's nothing wrong with questioning food products that come from a lab, which have never been proven safe long-term in the human population. Russians suspicions of the untested transgenic material are wise and have put them on a course of reducing their intake of genetically modified ingredients altogether. According to the Russian government, the proportion of GMOs in the Russian food industry had dropped significantly in the past decade from 12 percent to just 0.01 percent. Reportedly, the entire country has only 57 registered GMO food products available.
New Russian law would mandate labeling for all GMO products and instate fines
Now, a new bill, drafted by the Russian state consumer rights agency Rospotrebnadzor, is looking to mandate labeling of any food product containing any amount of genetically modified ingredient. Under the new law, those who fail to properly label the GMO products they sell would be subject to fines from anywhere between $555 and $4,150. The improperly labeled food stock would then be confiscated and likely discarded by the government.
Russian leadership are essentially doing something noble for their people — giving them the knowledge of which food products contain lab-altered ingredients. With this knowledge, the Russian people are free to make informed decisions. Other countries, like the US, are left in the dark, not questioning the validity of transgenic material in food. Fortunately, that's all about to change as Americans continue demanding new labeling laws.
Russian leadership shows how GMO safety standards are upside down
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev spoke earlier in 2014 about creating a research base for genetically modified organism that would provide health authorities with expert information.
Currently, Russia cannot impose trade restrictions on GMO food product imports because of new rules set by the WTO in 2012. As a member of the WTO, Russian cannot restrict GMO imports until they can prove that the food has a hazardous effect on human health.
Shouldn't it be the other way around? Shouldn't the transgenic seed and food have to be proven safe first? Why must Russian legislators and those alike have to back track? The standard of safety has been flipped on its head.
For this, Russian lawmakers want to change the international Safety and Quality of Alimentary Products law, which sets a norm for the allowable content of transgenic material in foodstuffs. Russian wants to reset that norm to zero for all food produced in Russia until the transgenic material is proven safe first.
Legislators from the Agriculture Ministry continue voicing their concerns that they have very little safety evidence on GMOs to go by in the first place. The turnover regulations governing GMOs are hardly enforced too, burdening Russian legislators. This year, the country suggested that all GMO products be banned until labeling is properly enforced.
Prime Minister Medvedev says the country doesn't perceive GMO products as an "absolute evil" or some kind of conspiracy, but reiterated that the government doesn't support the transgenic material in their food industry until it can be proven not harmful to the people.
Russia is basically saying that GMOs should be proven safe before allowed into the marketplace, not the other way around. Countries shouldn't have to backtrack and try to prove the safety of GMOs after they are already running amuck in the marketplace.
Sources for this article include:
Written by L.J. Devon
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