Russia Says, "Heck No, We Won't GMO!"

Another door is closing on Monsanto's (NYSE: MON  ) ability to sell genetically modified seed, as Russia's prime minister says the country won't import any GMO products. Following a plea by parliament at the end of February for the government to impose a temporary ban on them and President Vladimir Putin saying the country had to protect its citizens from GMOs, yet another market is about to shut to the biotech.

Dimitry Medvedev Source: Wikimedia Commons

"If the Americans like to eat GMO products, let them eat it then," said Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev earlier this month. "We don't need to do that; we have enough space and opportunities to produce organic food."

Although the importation of GM crops has been a sore subject in Russia, farmers were supposed to be allowed to begin planting their own crops this July. Medvedev just announced, however, certification to do so is being pushed back another three years ostensibly because of delays in creating the necessary framework. Even then, however, he won't guarantee Russia will allow GM material to be used.

As more countries ban the proliferation of genetically modified foods, the willingness of farmers to continue purchasing the seeds from seed giants will diminish. 

Syngenta (NYSE: SYT  ) recently ran into a brick wall of opposition to its GM corn as China rejected imports of the grain because the strain hadn't been approved. Now it's dragging its feet on deciding whether to approve it at all, and the National Grain and Feed Association estimates the U.S. corn, distillers grains, and soy sectors have sustained between $1 billion and almost $3 billion in economic losses as a result.  It further says China's no-go policy could cause those segments to eventually sustain additional losses of some $3.4 billion.

The NGFA anticipated corn exports to China would total some 7 million metric tons this year, but after the fallout with Syngenta's MIR162 strain it hasn't moved much beyond the 1.23 million metric tons shipped thus far and countries like Brazil and Argentina were recently granted permission to export to China.

According to the Non-GMO Project, there are more than 60 countries around the world that have imposed significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. Pretty much only the U.S. allows their unrestricted sale, basing their safety and efficacy on studies conducted by the very companies making the seeds and profiting from their proliferation. And it was the introduction of GMOs into Brazil and Argentina that helped energize sales for Monsanto over the past few years as they grew at an annual compounded rate of 13% and 14%, respectively, and now Africa is its new growth region. Over the last two years, the European-Africa division has grown 16% annually even as  demand for vegetable seeds in Europe have fallen.

A draft bill seeking to tighten control over GMO-based products in Russia was recently issued by the Ministry of Education and Science that precludes their importation "if such products fail to pass the required examinations." Currently there's no limitations imposed, but if the presence of GMOs exceed 0.9%, the goods must be labeled and consumers warned. 

The reverberations of the crisis in the Ukraine have to be causing consternation in Monsanto board offices as it is in the process of building a $140 million seed plant in the country to produce non-GM corn seed. It would be the height of irony then if the leading purveyor of genetically modified seed was stopped at the Russian border, not because of its lab-altered seed that are reviled across much of the world, but rather as it tried to prepare for the processing of traditional shipments of seed to it.

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Read/Post Comments (26) | Recommend This Article (16)

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  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2014, at 4:17 PM, lighthouse333 wrote:

    They are right, if they have plenty of organic foods why in the hell they need GMO for? We should ban all GMO foods. Period. We have so much lands why don't we grow the organic foods? Why we made our people eat the GMO, for what, to kill them?

    Are we try to depopulation our own citizens, genocide them with GMO? What is wrong with our mentality, our government? Who idea is it?

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 12:33 AM, Sideways wrote:

    Thanks Monsanto for the "weed n feed" products that everyone in American sprays all over their yards. Haven't seen a dragon fly in 10 years and half the kids on the block are autistic.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 1:15 AM, DERMD wrote:

    GMO products are the key to sustainable food sources. Don't listen to the BS spewed by media claiming they "pose" a threat. I don't think Mr. Medvedev knows at all what GMO products really are. Here are bananas with absolutely ZERO genetic modification. I'm willing to suggest Medvedev isn't willing to eat these.

    This is "organic". And yes, those are seeds.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 2:43 AM, Reba wrote:

    DERMD - I think you are mistaken on what a GMO is.

    There is a HUGE difference between splicing/cross breeding over generations to improve on flavor, appearance, yield and heartiness, VS. genetically altering/injecting something with genes from another species (like insects, fish or bacteria) or dangerous pesticides (like Round-up). Can't just "wash" it off, either. Nothing "natural" about GMO foods. No one should be allowed to patent life. I see no BS being "spewed" here. Only the lack of knowledge giving those who are just learning about GMO's wrong information.

    And please, anyone reading this: DON'T just take my word, or DERMD's either, about this issue. Research for yourself! Cross-breeding is NOT the same as GMO's!!

    Ask yourself this: If GMO's are so great and harmless, why not be proud of your product and label it? And why can't farmers save and re-use seeds bought from Monsanto (even though this is how farmers have done it since, well, forever!)

    Click the link to see a map of what countries have labeling laws or full out bans on GMO. Why is North America untouched?

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 7:57 AM, DrG wrote:

    People afraid of GMO seeds but not afraid of already establshed dangers of fracking, oil spills from pipelines and trains, air pollution, climate change, pollution of aquifers, climate warming, excessive CO2, Gulf drilling for oil??

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 8:29 AM, RevStorm wrote:

    WOW! Even the Evil Empire wont buy products from the Other Evil Empire.

    It's over Monsanto! Find something else to force on the consumers.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 9:01 AM, razbery75 wrote:

    Monsanto is what happens when you don't have enough good regulation. There garbage products are only there to keep people sick. I support REBA's post. We need to fight against this corporate bully and support farmer's to grow sustainable, get this Monsanto! NATURAL! THE WAY GOD INTENDED!

    You scurvy pirate GMO, your company is a form of GMO. Why can't one of those tornadoes just rip through and blow them away! I would laugh till dawn!

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 9:31 AM, Chris11 wrote:

    Yeah, but do the people of the US really want to eat these products? Investigation would lead you the answer of inherently, no. This is evidenced by the label campaign that they've attempted to repress for a long time now but just simply can't keep the lid on it. Something simply isn't right about GM foods, and despite them continually repeating they're safe they're safe, more countries continue to ban them as well. It's interesting to note that animal studies displayed that some of the negative implications didn't completely reveal themselves until through a couple generations, where as the rats became sterile and could no longer re-produce. What exactly is the point of GM foods, and is the plot more sinister than we could imagine?

    It isn't just Monsanto either, even though they're the the company that's always highlighted, there is plenty of other Bio-tech companies in the game as well.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 10:06 AM, frellmedead wrote:

    Good for Russia, and their people.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 10:39 AM, Global2 wrote:

    If there is no point to GM's, why do you think farmers buy it. There is free choice in the market, and no one forces a farmer to buy, as some would like to portray. Every farmer has the right to buy the seed they want, even go back to ancestral land races, and grow everything organically. But then someone would need to designate the well over 1 billion people that would stop eating and starve to death, and the rest of us, probably pay more than double for the food we eat today. If Russia's declaration is true, I find it intriguing that some can think this is science-rationale based; no politics involved here, of course.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 11:48 AM, francko wrote:

    Unfortunately the use of genetically modified organisms was forced down the throat (pun intended) of the US public. The vast majority of citizens were against the introduction of the GMO in the beginning. So who is running the show here???

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 11:52 AM, kennyhobo wrote:

    All grown foods are genetically modified. The Indians did that 2000 years ago. Plant the sees of plants that can survive drought! survive insects! Modern man can do this much quicker with chemistry. GMOs will feed the poor. Anti-GMO people have decided to kill poor people! It is called Genocide. Organic plants, for example, have to waste energy fighting weather and insects. This costs the plant nutrients. So organic food can be less nutrient rich that GMOs or plants sprayed with insecticides and fertilized. This is simple science. Something news journalists and politicians don't understand. Don't believe these two groups of imbeciles.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 12:20 PM, smilingdon wrote:

    Frankly I have been concerned about the long term consequences of GMO seed. I know that the product can be made more drought and insect resistant but it seems that a when we "tinker" with "nature" we get in trouble sometimes.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 1:31 PM, carmeno wrote:

    Talk about fools, lol, DrG, really? And what makes you think that people opposed to GMOs are not also concerned with "already establshed dangers of fracking, oil spills from pipelines and trains, air pollution, climate change, pollution of aquifers, climate warming, excessive CO2, Gulf drilling for oil??" Anyone who fools with Mother Nature is not alright with me. The more GMO producers and supporter tell us how "good and safe they are" and how "a natural occurring hybrid is the same thing", the more people rebel. People are NOT THAT STUPID. (Well, some are.) For now, I'll keep growing my own food, in my own backyard because you never know what it is we are being fed. Well, if it has corn syrup, we know what it likely is not; that is GMO free, based on the fact that most corn being grown in the USA is GMO. Don't touch the stuff. This year, I even learned to produce my own maple syrup. Too bad sugar cane doesn't grow here so I can learn to make my own sugar. (Actually, I know how to make it already.) Farmers buy the stuff, Global 2, because they fell for the hype, which doesn't mean we have to eat it. As to kennyhobo, I suggest you stop "hoboing" around actually spend some time in a library. GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS mean just that. Crossing a tomato with a tomato give you a tomato. Crossing a member of the Brassica family (cabbage to you) gives you a member of the Brassica family even if they don't look all that alike. Artificially crossing a fish with a tomato gives you a .... Sorry, I have no idea what except that it's some sort of new organism.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 1:33 PM, vognick86 wrote:

    Kenny PLEASE gain an education before posting on issues you know nothing about. HYBRID crops have NOTHING in common with GMO crops. Hybrid crops are merely taking what is NATURALLY occuring in various strains of the same plant, or various traits and breeding those two tall people marrying have having tall children. GMO is like injecting fish DNA into a human hoping it will grow gills to swim in sewer water....see the difference? As for feeding the "poor" Trying to feed people in barren third world countries does NOTHING more than creating a less hungry person living in doesn't lift them out of poverty....PLEASE grow up.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 2:02 PM, yoki wrote:

    Monsanto is the Worlds Dictator who knows that GMO is dangerous but still wants to poison the consumers gleefully. Monsanto wont eat anything GMO...the judge

    who confirmed the use of GMO to the consumers should be shot dead !!!! Isn't this

    what you call let the consumer inflict their own death & Monsanto washes their hands from all of this ???

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 2:09 PM, u4iadestiny wrote:

    Once again we have people here claiming that GMOs are the same as foods hybridized through cross pollination, selective breeding, and so on. Do the research - educate yourselves - also, be aware that this is misinformation intentionally being spread by the GMO companies to confuse people, as their paid posters are saying it all the time. EDUCATE yourselves - learn about the invasive techniques of genetic engineering, the real threat of glyphosphate poisoning, and dozens of other serious threats posed by this industry.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 4:49 PM, eyeforeye42 wrote:

    No independent studies for efficacy because of 'Trade Secrets" make me think this has the opportunity for gruesome future problems similar to the DES diethylstilbestrol where it it is linked to a rare vaginal tumor in girls and women who had been exposed to this drug in utero. It wouldn't surprise me that each GMO product is a separate corporation entity that if something does go wrong, they file bankruptcy and protect the parent company's assets and stiff the users. That is what Monsanto did with its PCB production operation.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 5:06 PM, halcyon3 wrote:

    So Russia actually does something better than us. That's embarrassing.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 6:40 PM, GeorgePolitico02 wrote:

    Genetic engineering is like mechanical, electronic, or chemical engineering in that whether its products are dangerous depends entirely upon their composition and the way they are used.

    There is no reason to think that moving one gene from an edible fish into a second edible fish would produce anything other than an edible fish. If there is any suspicion that the new fish might have some unexpected change, those doubts can be laid to rest using techniques such as 2D protein gels and high-performance liquid chromatography.

    The term "frankenfoods" is a good metaphor for this debate. In the Frankenstein movie, the monster was actually more dangerous than the crowd of hysterical villagers who chased it up a mountain and into an old mill. However, in real life it is not always so. We have new techniques for food production that could greatly reduce the burden of food production on the environment--particularly the ocean. It would be shame if they were shut down by blind hysteria.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 6:57 PM, MDubois wrote:

    I will not knowingly buy foods containing GMO's and I insist on GNO labeling. I am not a health food nut but until labels give information on GMO ingredients contained in the product, I will only buy organic products from food producers I trust. Corporate American food producers, if you want my business back, label your products.

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 11:35 AM, dockofthebay wrote:

    For me, the issue does not revolve entirely around the safety issue. It also involves the way that Monsanto and a few other seed giants are gradually taking control of the seed markets,not only in the USA , but also in other countries around the world where it is legal to plant GMO crops. I think this is a dangerous development in itself.

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 4:23 PM, jrsept1 wrote:

    wow think russia is growing organic maize and soybeans...are you even kidding, this is about anti american payback.

    Sideways, it is nice that you blame all the sustainability and loss of habitat on a single actually thinking. Where do you live that you don't see dragonflies ?

    Yoki...are you kidding, the Gap stores are a larger corporation than Monsanto...did you know monsanto sells organic and convential seeds too. That monasano won't eat gmo products shows how guilble you are..urban legend in the firs degree

    who put this thought together "GMO is like injecting fish DNA into a human hoping it will grow gills to swim in sewer water"....not just silly, truely witch burning thinking.

    I about give up, your basic citizen has about a two sentence attention span, no math of science, and only cares when the next episode of Evil corp america comes on.

    and this from a pro organic food person, the anti gmo crowd is an embaressment that I can no support. As one of the leaders in the GMO labeling movement in Washington is not about transparency, or right to know, it is about putting a stigma on gmo like they did in Europe.

    like putting a fish gene in humans...that was like some first grader analogy

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 4:32 PM, jrsept1 wrote:

    Reba...natural is a vague term, and does apply to gmo whether you understand why or not.

    and conventional seeds are patentened, just like gmo seeds are. Anything pro or con gmo should be checked.....imo, the anti gmo statements have been wrong 90 % of the time I researched them.

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 4:37 PM, jrsept1 wrote:

    lighthouse....are you suggest soybeans and maize in the US be grown with organic techniques....have you ever seen corn and soybean fields. Ever been on a farm ? This isn't organic produce you know.

    Genocide with gmo...trillions of food exposures over two decades, and you are proposing the result genocide.

    oh my, not even sure what to say. that someone thinks millions of food and risk sceintists globally have missed the health impact from trillions of GO O exposures...just floors me. .

  • Report this Comment On May 02, 2014, at 12:42 PM, SPR507 wrote:

    Let's see you have convulsions to GMO products, but you blindly accept GMO medicine (how do you think there are so many antibiotics) and GMO wine (how did we get so many varieties).

    If there were consequences for GMO crops, you would see it because they've been in the food stream since 1990.

    If you don't like GMO food, then shop at Whole Foods and not your local grocer.

    But give me the choice.

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