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Russian anti-GMO activists raise funds for ‘first-ever’ independent intl research

Published time: May 17, 2014 11:31
Edited time: May 18, 2014 16:16

RIA Novosti/Igor Zarembo

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As Russian MPs ponder over a draft bill that could see GMOs outlawed, the country’s chief genetic safety activist tells RT she is skeptical about the legislative initiative and urges ‘long-overdue’ independent international research.

GMO production and distribution is likened to terrorism by the authors of a draft bill submitted to the Russian parliament earlier this week. It’s not the first comparison of the kind, according to Elena Sharoykina, director of the Genetic Safety Public Association (GSPA), a 10-year-old NGO in Moscow, Russia’s major campaigner for GM-free food and agriculture.

In an interview to RT, Sharoykina recalled a statement made by the NATO Committee on the Challenges to Modern Society in the Belgian city of Liege in 2004, in which it warned that GMOs may be used as a genetic weapon.

If serious international experts on security who have close ties with the scientific community say this is possible then there’s no smoke without fire,” Sharoykina said.

The GSPA director is still skeptical about the draft bill, as she sees no way in which the legislation could be enforced in practice, as it would be hard to prove a direct link between certain GMOs and health or environmental problems.

The activist however cites some disturbing experiment results, like the one GSPA conducted with the help of the A.N. Severtsev Institute of Ecology and Evolution in 2010.

We conducted an experiment on hamsters taken from the natural environment,” Sharoykina said. “We had a group that was given standard feed-stuff plus pure soy and another group which had their standard feed-stuff combined with GM soy. The animals which were eating GMO did not have their third generation born.”

Elena Sharoykina, director of the Genetic Safety Public Association (GSPA). Photo from

The GSPA director confesses it was a modest, underfunded experiment and a more serious and comprehensive one is needed and is going to be conducted in Russia. The NGO has already enrolled a team of researchers from the US, France, the UK, China and Russia and will make sure the experiment will comply with all international standards. It’s also going to be available for everyone to follow online.

The GSPA is raising funds from as many sources as possible for the experiment to come up to the group’s claims – the first-ever independent international research on GMO.

Until results of this kind of experiment become available, Russia should abstain from opening its market to GMOs, despite economic losses the step might incur, the expert says.

How can we think about money when we’re talking about the health of our close ones?” Sharoykina asks. “Russia has huge territories and doesn’t need GM foods. Moreover, we have all the chances of dominating the clean, unmodified food market.

After entering the World Trade Organization, Russia was expected to allow GM foods production and distribution. However, in March Russia’s president said the country was able stay GM-free without violating its obligations to the WTO.

In April, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told MPs that Russia will not plant GM seeds for at least three more years due to delays in creating the necessary infrastructure. Earlier Russia had expected to allow planting such seeds from June 2014.

Comments (39)


joao pereira 13.06.2014 08:48

GMOs will never prove safe by science or other means. Natural food proved safe by thousand years and generations of PRACTICE. Even natural food is constantly subjected to scrutiny by scientists and practitioners. So elementary prudence recomends to avoid these kind of "innovations&qu ot;. Expecting that sovereign States allow them or forcing individual farmers to adopt them is the trade mark of the Imperial way. Hope Russia stand firm against, hope that coward governments of EU have the minimum of decence.


Isa 30.05.2014 17:03

I've seen scary figures. In the USA, 1 in 1600 babies are born intersexed (neither XX nor XY), when in Europe, only 1 in 5000 is born with that condition. The difference, GMO are forbidden in Europe.
Is it connected to GMO consumption? Is it a mixture of GMO, growth hormones, antibiotics in the food, etc? I would have loved to contact GSPA about that issue, but their site is in Russian...


Bruce Behrhorst 19.05.2014 23:05

Totality 19.05.2014 09:59

If U think that there is a conspiracy to stop GMOs with 'propaganda' science, you are a whack-job like people who say GMOs are an attempt to cull humanity.


So please!! link me up w/ real science evidence based material that makes GMO so bad as a socioeconomic food source.
*Try biofuels industry limiting access to foods for people.

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