Russia Passes Total Ban on the Production and Importation of Genetically Modified Organisms


After months of heated debate, Russia has decided to pass a ban on all GMO crop cultivation and GMO animal breeding in the Russian Federation. On June 24, the Russian Duma passed the third and final reading of a bill banning the import and production of genetically modified organisms.

In 2015, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich announced the decision to ban GMOs. However, until recently, legal penalties for the production or importation of GMO crop cultivation and GMO animal breeding did not exist in the Russian Federation.

Under the new law, Russia’s government will also have the ability to ban any GMO imports that are believed to have a negative impact on human health or the environment.

Image: Flickr, Donna Cleveland
Image: Flickr, Donna Cleveland

“The Ministry of Agriculture is strongly against GMOs; Russian products will remain clean.” Minister of Agriculture, Alexander Tkachev, told the press. 

As stated in the new law, the legislation “strengthens measures aimed at monitoring of all types of activities associated with GMOs, preventing release of GMOs into the environment, and ameliorating the consequences if such a release occurs.”

According to advocates of the ban, the new law will aid Russia in producing the cleanest agricultural products in the world. Meanwhile, opponents of the ban believe the ban favors the current Russian agricultural lobby, which is known to be afraid of competition in world markets and does not wish to involve itself in the development of new technologies. 

The decision was made despite increasing pressure from the western GMO cartel on individual Duma members and Russian scientists.

Unsurprisingly, after the first draft of the GMO legislation was debated and sent for possible revisions, the pro-GMO lobby made an attempt to stop the passing of the ban. After the publication of a new report claiming to be a comprehensive review of past studies on the health and safety of GMOs, the story became widespread across the country.

However, upon closer inspection of the article in question, it was revealed that the scientists involved in the study were none other than Alexander Y. Panchin, of the Institute for Information Transmission Problems (IITP) of the Russian Academy of Science and Alexander Tuzhikov, a Research Associate at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami specializing in Computer Science, Bioinformatics.

In addition to the ill-qualified scientists leading the study, it was also discovered that the report analyzed a mere seven published scientific articles – many of which were influenced by Monsanto or other GMO companies.

Image: Flickr, erdquadrat
Image: Flickr, erdquadrat

We performed a statistical re-analysis and review of experimental data presented in some of these studies and found that quite often in contradiction with the authors’ conclusions the data actually provides weak evidence of harm that cannot be differentiated from chance,” Panchin and Tuzhikov wrote in their abstract.

Following the reports release, the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Fortov met with  Russian President Vladimir Putin in an attempt to convince Putin on all the benefits of GMOs. As evidence may suggest, the meeting did not prove to be successful.

In response to claims made in Panchin and Tuzhikov’s report, scientists from the All-National Association for Genetic Safety (OAGB), a group of leading GMO research scientists, pointed out that the methodology employed in the report was flawed.

Statistical analysis was conducted using the Bonferroni method, which…can show a lack of an effect which is present in reality…this method does not allow to identify the toxic effects of the objects, but on the contrary the method hides the toxic effects.”

Over the past few years, scientific evidence supporting the theory that GMOs and neither safe for human consumption, the environment and local species (particularly pollinating insects) has been steadily mounting. Last year, more than half of the 28 countries in the European Union (EU) decided to ban the cultivation of GMO crops.

Image: Flickr, U.S. Department of Agriculture 

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