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14.06.07

Moscow Mayor asked Putin to stop GMOs

Moscow Mayor asked Putin to stop GMOs
Head of Russia’s capital called for moratorium on GMOs and suggested adopting federal biosafety law this autumn.

Biosafety.ru recently became aware that (source of information – Health Commission of Moscow City Duma) on May 28 Moscow Mayor Yuriy Luzhkov urged Vladimir Putin to introduce moratorium on GMOs in Russia.

In his letter delivered to Putin he asks Russian President to close doors for GMOs as soon as possible, until Russia becomes a member of WTO.

The draft Biosafety law Luzhkov mentions in his letter bans the production of GM plants for food, sale of GM food to children under 16 and at hospitals. The army and navy are also banned from purchasing GM food. The legislation binds producers to indicate the presence of genetically modified components on the packaging irrespective of the GM threshold in the products.

Russian food producers many of which do not welcome GM labeling at all came up with “traditional” comments on this new draft law. Members of RusBrand association (such as Nestle, Kraftfoods and others) say that this legislative initiative will only be beneficial for producers of lab equipment.

Letter text:

“Dear President Putin!

Moscow Government pays a lot of attention to the issues of providing food safety and restriction on supply of food containing GMOs, which cause negative impact on human health.

In order to provide realization of consumer rights, including the right for full and true information about goods, providing choice, quality and safety of food the Moscow Government adopted on February 13, 2007 a Decree № 88-GIII "On Provisional Measures on Quality Assurance And Safety of Food Products and on Informing of Consumers In Moscow". This decree introduces special “GMO free!" label since July 01, 2007.

GMO free Initiatives of Moscow were endorsed by the participants tof he Round Table on Healthy Food Issues of State Duma on April 10, 2007.

Moscow initiatives were also very much welcome by the Third GMO free regions and products conference hold in Brussels, where Health Commission of Moscow City Duma presented these initiatives.

Due to the fact that measures undertaken by the Moscow Government have only regional significance there is a need to urgently introduce actions on federal level until Russia joins WTO in November 2007. We should take into account negative experience of other countries, e.g. Brazil, where GMOs were distributed without regulation in place. It lead to the dependence of country on companies - producers of GMOs.

It is dramatized by the fact that new data demonstrates negative influence of GMO on live organisms and environment.

Experts from different countries in their presentations during GMO free regions and products conference in Brussels pointed out the issue of 0,9% labeling threshold. They said that contamination should be on zero level, it means that qualitative test methods of identification of GMOs in food products should be preferably used.

Taking into consideration mentioned above, I ask you to encharge appropriate institutions with a task to take measures to do the following:

1. To introduce moratorium on GM-crops, including lines already approved in Russia, until their influence on mammals and environment is defined.
2. To encharge the Government of the Russian Federation with a task to finalize the draft federal law “On biological safety and regulation of supply of food and animal products containing genetically modified organisms and sources and their producers”.
3. To create Government’s working group on finalizing this draft law and invite representatives of the Security Committee of the Russian State Duma, Moscow City Duma, Russian Academy of Science, NGOs to join it.
To introduce this draft law in State Duma in the second half of year 2007.
4. To join Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety – the only international document regulating transboundary transfer of GMOs.
5. To establish a special state institution to regulate issues of biological and genetic safety.

Y.M.Luzhkov
Mayor of Moscow”


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