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31.08.07

Debates around GMO labeling going on in Russia

Debates around GMO labeling going on in Russia
Companies, deputies and some NGOs are now lobbying to change GMO labeling legislation. According to Russian Consumer Protection Law all food containing GMOs must be labeled. The law does not define any threshold. According to this law no GMOs allowed to be present in products without special indication.

Proponents of changes say the law should allow 0,9% of GMO content to be used in food without labeling. They explain this is needed to harmonize Russian legislation with European in order to avoid further obstacles in trade. Such draft law has already passed Duma and been introduced to Federation Council (Upper Chamber), but has been rejected by senators.

At the same time the Chief Sanitary Doctor whose office is responsible for GMO oversight and research, issued a new sanitary and hygienic requirements, which came into force on the 1st of September. And it is said in this document that 0,9% of GMO content in food products is always accidental and technical unavoidable.

Part of Russian NGOs, experts and local authorities disagree with this and think that Russia should protect its 0% tolerance to GMOs.

The answer to the question if the efforts to change federal law by fixing the 0,9% standard are aimed to protect consumer rights (as proponents say) is controversial. But it is obvious that Russian producers or foreign companies working in the country have never labeled their products honestly. They did not label GMOs in the beginning of century when 5% of GMOs in products was allowed to be used without labeling. They did nothing when it was 0% tolerance and they most probably will not do anything to label 0,9%. Another important thing in this context is that Russia does not have organic food standards, thus people are unable to choose GMO free and safe products.


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