First "Russian" transgenic potato approved in Russia as food source
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
As it turned out last week, Chief Sanitary Doctor of the Russian Federation issued a Decree. The document confirms that first GM-potato Elizabeth made by Russian scientists by transferring Monsanto Bt-gene to the crop of Russian selection, has been registered in Russia for human consumption.
Safety assessment was done by the Russian Institute of Nutrition. This Institute is famous for its not transparent policy and violation of democratic procedures. Last year Greenpeace of Russia brought a case against the Institute claiming to discover information on the results of previous safety tests of imported Monsanto GM-potato New Leaf and Russet Burbank. Court decision was in favour of public organization, but the Institute never implemented it.
The "Russian" GM-potato project was publicly announced in summer 2002 at the press-conference of representatives of the Bioengineering Center of the Russian Academy of Science, Monsanto and US Embassy in Moscow. It was claimed that “Elizabeth” and two other GM-potato varieties would be planted in Russia in 3 years.
Now Russia officially does not grow GMOs but 13 imported GM-crops are approved for human consumption: Soy (3 lines) - Monsanto (2), Bayer (1); Maize (6 lines) - Monsanto (4), Syngenta (1), Bayer (1); Potato (2 lines) - Monsanto; Sugar beat (1 line) - Monsanto/Syngenta; Rice (1 line) - Bayer. Monsanto also sells GM-feed to Russia (4 lines of maize).
"Elizabeth is supposed to be produced in Russia and for Russia. We think the only reason of it approval for human consumption is to urge its authorization for commercial growing. At the same time we are not sure that there are no GM-crops on Russian fields. Lobbyists from the Russian Grain Union recently claimed that Russia soon would face so called "Brazilian variant". This means that some illegal plantations of soy and potato could be discovered and then legalized. Nobody controls anything", comments Victoria Kopeykina, secretary of CIS Alliance for Biosafety.
Environmental NGOs will be watching the situation and push official bodies to make all procedures related to introduction GMOs in Russia, open to public and transparent.
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