Russia needs to clear the way for imports of genetically modified food and feed, particularly from the US to ease Russia's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
This is according to Alexander Baranov, the President of the National Association for Genetic Security and a leading expert in the Institute of Biological Sciences.
Currently, cultivation of transgenic plants is prohibited in Russia, and since 2007 products containing 0.9% of GMO ingredients must be specially marked.
The Russian Federal Service on Surveillance for Consumer rights protection and human well-being (Rospotrebnadzor) have proposed to completely lift restrictions on the use of genetic modification technologies in the cultivation of agricultural crops in Russia.
“In order to ensure protection of public health, food and environmental safety, Russian scientists should create GMO lines adapted to grow in Russia, and to introduce it into agricultural sector", the service said in a statement.
The Federal Service looks to the experience of foreign countries, where widespread use of GMO for cultivation of agricultural crops is permitted. "In the US products containing GMO are considering safe for humans and are not subject to labeling, as well as in Brazil and Argentina. In Japan, they applied the appropriate labeling if they contain 5% or more of the GMO components"- Gennady Ivanov, head of the Department of sanitary supervision of food hygiene under Rospotrebnadzor, pointed out.
A hearing on the subject is due to be held in the not-so-distant future in the Parliament of the Russian Federation. Experts believe that the complete lift of restrictions on GMO production cultivation is inevitable.