By Daniel Barker
Russian authorities have announced a limit on GMO animal feed imports as the country continues taking steps towards becoming GMO-free.
The Russian food safety regulatory agency Rosselkhoznadzor made the announcement on July 21 that animal feed that is either fully GMO or that contains a high percentage of GMOs would no longer be permitted to be imported into the country.
This latest announcement follows on the heels of a complete ban on GM crop cultivation and GM animal breeding that was signed into law in June by President Vladimir Putin.
Although the ban on GMO animal feed will not be a complete one, restrictions have already begun to limit some imports of feeds containing high percentages of GMOs.
From Sustainable Pulse:
“On July 15 the Rosselkhoznadzor put a temporary ban on imports from the Ukrainian company Katerynopil Elevator due to a large percentage of GMOs being discovered in imported chicken feed. From July 29 Russia will also introduce temporary bans on imports from a number of Brazilian, Chinese, Argentinian and German trading companies, due to the large percentage of GMOs in their animal feed products.”
Russia sets an example for the world to follow
Russia appears to be serious in its efforts to become GMO-free. In February, Rosselkhoznadzor imposed a ban on all imports of soybeans and corn from the United States, due to GMO and microbial contamination.
The February move represented a “huge blow” to U.S. farmers. Although U.S. corn exports to Russia were relatively modest in volume, soybean exports totaled $156 million in 2013 and continued to increase during 2014 and 2015.
Under Vladimir Putin’s leadership, Russia has remained unbowed to biotech industry pressure and has chosen to take a “different path” in its approach to agriculture, opting for organic food production instead of GMO technology.
In December 2015, Putin told the Russian Parliament why he supports organic food cultivation:
“Not only can we ourselves eat it, but also taking into account our land and water – which is particularly important – resources Russia could become the world’s largest supplier of healthy, environmentally friendly, high-quality food that has long been missing in some western producers.”
It’s more than a bit ironic that a nation often characterized by the West as being backwards and corrupt should be taking such a bold stance in favor of “healthy, environmentally friendly, high-quality food,” while the United States and other countries continue to give biotech companies free rein.
Apparently, the Russian authorities have been able to see through the GMO industry’s lies while resisting its lobbying efforts, and have managed to set an example for the rest of the world.
In fact, the Russians seem to have a clear set of goals that will not only protect the health of its citizens, but could make Russia an even more powerful economic force, in terms of food exports.
U.S. falls behind in meeting public demand for healthy food
As the demand for organic food continues to increase, the U.S. has fallen woefully behind. For example, up to 92 percent of corn and 94 percent of soybean crops currently grown in the U.S. are genetically-engineered, while a majority of Americans say they don’t want to eat GM foods.
Meanwhile, Russia is making strides in the direction of meeting all of its own demand for healthy, organic food by 2020 and exporting it to other nations as well.
In 2015, Russia adopted a completely new approach to food production and regulation. New laws were passed that will impose fines for vague or unclear labeling of foods containing GMOs, along with other measures designed to encourage the expanded production of organic food products.
Russian authorities have vowed not to “poison their citizens,” while the United States government continues doing exactly that – despite the clear message from the populace that GMOs are unwanted.
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