9 June 2014, 15:30

Russia requesting int'l GMO watchdog agency be made, as US lags behind with food standards

Russia requesting int'l GMO watchdog agency be made, as US lags behind with food standards

Russia is insisting on an international GMO watchdog group to be created as the US is lagging behind with food standards. Lawmakers in Russia are pushing for the birth of a global United Nations agency to not just strictly keep an eye on the turnover of GMO produce on a worldwide level, but also make it be its top priority to criticize how eating genetically modified organisms (GMO) would change human health over the long run.

The push for distributing GMO products all throughout the world is raising red flags in the health sector, at least according to Russian Federation Council speaker Valentina Matvienko. The speaker is asking that the executive branch put in a formal request to the UN General Assembly to start up the creation of a global GMO watchdog group. "It's absolutely clear that the GMO problem is a global issue," Valentina Matvienko said, according to an article from RT.

She is also for assisting with the production of organics inside of Russia since "the volumes of imported agricultural goods and food remain substantial," Matvienko said, as stated by RT. Authority figures in Russia are creating polices to manage the what seems like unstoppable spreading of GMO goods made by transnational firms, like Monsanto.

The US agriculture industry need not mark their produce if it has GMO related chemicals. Due to this stipulation, massive protests take place and it is claimed that around 80 to 95 percent of Americans would rather have GMO food labeled properly.

At least one state has finally taken a step in the right direction. Vermont has become the first ever in the US to pass into law a rule making it mandatory for GMO food to be labeled for what it really is, giving consumers all the knowledge they need to make healthy food choices. According to the attorney general's office they would like to see the first draft of the policy be ready as early as January 2015 with the final one prepared by July 2015, as stated by wcax.com. However, as much as this initiative is being applauded by consumers state-wide, Monsanto has other plans to derail the state's plan for a healthier tomorrow.

The publication Indian Country Today writes, "Among Monsanto’s outlandish claims is that a labeling requirement would be a violation of the company’s freedom of speech. In recent years, Monsanto has even gone as far as to partner with DuPont and Kraft Foods to grossly outspend and defeat supporters of similar laws in California and Washington, explains sumofus.org." The company that believes its intentions are for the betterment of society seems to be willing to pull all its tricks out of its hat, in order to keep a firm stance in Vermont. While American consumers and state lawmakers continue to battle it out with big corporations over the state of their food, Russia looks like to be having bit more progress when it comes down to the GMO issue.

As for Russian, parliament is looking into a moratorium on the GMO issue, since the GMO topic has not spiraled out of control yet. Since entering the World Trade Organization (WTO) though, it has made Russia more susceptible to GMO items in the consumer market. Back in April, Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced that Russia has the possibility of being self-sufficient with organics alone, without accepting any form of GMO food to be produced.

In fact, the GMO topic has become such a serious concern in Russia that a draft law sent to the Russian parliament is looking to hand out punishments like criminally prosecuting a person for producing GMOs which put the environment or the health of humans in harm's way. Not too long ago, the Federal Service for Consumer Rights and Human Welfare Protection brought to the table a draft bill that would administer fines to producers and sellers of food items that have GMO in them should they not state on the package that the product contains GMO.

Russian politicians are not alone in their fight against GMO as Russian citizens are not at all receptive toward food containing GMO. In a May survey conducted by the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center in 42 different areas of Russia—it was found that 54 percent of pollsters would not purchase food that stated that GMO was inside.

The majority of survey takers—exactly 74 percent— preferred organic over its GMO counterpart, even if the genetically modified brand is a cheap buy. Seventy-six percent would buy food in more attractive packaging while 78 percent would purchase products that had a longer shelf-life. As part of the survey, Russian consumers also revealed that they do not trust additives put into foods. Fifty percent of survey takers do not welcome preservatives, 40 percent are not keen on buying items with food coloring, and 33 percent have negative feelings about flavor enhancing ingredients while 31 percent are leery on buying food with antioxidants stuffed inside a product.

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