GM FOOD TO BE LABELED AS ECOLOGICALLY PURE

The Moscow governments nature management and environment protection department and the Russian consumer union have unveiled Ecologically pure product,
a certification mark of a voluntary certification system. The mark will be used for labeling food products that meet the quality standards applicable to baby food. Food products made with genetically modified material can be labeled with it too. The threat that GM material poses has been proved a long time ago, says an expert. U.K. doctors and the Institute of Nutrition of the Russian Academy of Sciences conducted some tests involving rats being fed GM potato. The study showed that the number of leucocytes in the blood of the rats had dropped. The cellular structure of their digestive system and the liver functioning had been impaired too.

According to the WHO, food is responsible for bringing about 70% of all pollutants into the human body. Nobody cared for the safety of food products in Moscow until recently as opposed to most European capitals where the food stores selling organic food only have been operating for a long time. In the meantime, as by reports of the Moscow governments nature management and environment protection department, lots of food items labeled ecologically pure or grown in an ecologically clean area have been put on sale around the city lately. The labels they carry arent certified by any authority.

Our marking will be a guarantee of quality, says chairman of the Russian consumer union Pyetr Shelisch. The Moscow government suggests that a mark of a green oak leaf depicted against the blue drop of water with a caption Ecologically pure product be granted to foods after the tests conducted by the city sanitation authority, the Institute of Nutrition et al. Besides, the labeled products will be tested one more time during a 12-month period. Producers will be subject to legal action if infringements are found.

We will impose the most strict requirements, says to Izvestia academician Sergei Khotimchenko, director of the Institute of human ecology and environmental hygiene.
All labeled foods shall meet the quality requirements applicable to baby food. This kind of food products must be produced from material grown without the use of growth enhancers, pesticides, antibiotics and chemical fertilizers.

The above list may be completed with products made with GM material.

Members of the All-Russian association of genetic safety are confident that the use of GM material should be banned until adequate scientific evidence is available to prove its harmlessness to public health.

The heated discussion about foods containing GM material is still going on, says Alexander Baranov, president of the All-Russian association of genetic safety. As far as Im concerned, the situation is quite clear. The threat that GM material poses has been proved a long time ago, says he. U.K. doctors and the Institute of Nutrition of the Russian Academy of Sciences conducted some tests involving rats being fed GM potato. The study showed that the number of leucocytes in the blood of the rats had dropped. The cellular structure of their digestive system and the liver functioning had been impaired too. Besides, the lab animals showed slower growth rates and brain tissue underdevelopment.

The city sanitation authority said to Izvestia that no country whatsoever conducted fundamental research of the impact caused by GM food on humans therefore no findings were available.

Its still premature to ascertain that GM products are harmful, says Oksana Tamara, health specialist of the sanitation authority. Since 1999 weve been watching the GM content in the foods that are sold in Moscows food stores. About 20 food items are taken every month at the Moscow stores and food producers by our specialists for GM testing. The Moscow sanitation authority examined 242 samples last year. As a result, we detected 37 unlabeled products with a significant content of GM ingredients missing in their composition paperwork. All the producers were fined.

On July 1, 2004,the Russian sanitation authorities will tighten control over the regulation and labeling of GM foods, GM derivatives and food supplements. Thus food must be labeled as GM if it has more than 0.9% of detectable GM content – i.e. DNA or protein arising from genetic modification. The new rules mirror the rules currently effective in the EU.

.. - NEKTO 2009.


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