Legislators are asking the government to impose a temporary ban on all genetically-altered products in Russia, while the Agriculture Ministry suggests the punishment for illegal GMO production be equated to that of growing cannabis.
The State Duma’s Agriculture Committee has decided that Russia needs a ban on the registration and turnover of genetically modified organisms, local mass media reported on Wednesday. It is suggested that until specialists develop a working system of control over the GMO effects on humans and the natural environment, the government should impose a moratorium on breeding and growth of genetically modified plants, animals and microorganisms.
Russia’s Agriculture Ministry is supporting the parliament’s position. Deputy Agriculture Minister Aleksandr Petrikov has told the MPs that the reasons behind the conservative stance on the issue are a lack of research into the various effects of GMO cultures, the absence of a working monitoring system and the fact that spreading of GMO crops could harm the biodiversity in whole regions.
He also noted that hasty introduction of GMO cultures carries economic risks – Russia cannot compete with foreign producers when it comes to costs, but still can position itself as a producer of high-quality, GMO-free agricultural goods. Thus, any use of GMO cultures would harm the national export potential, Petrikov said.

The ministry supports a complete ban on growing and using genetically altered organisms in the country, with the exception of those used in scientific research.

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