European GMO and animal food standards haven’t been introduced yet

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We deem that SDSM’s promise “we shall introduce and implement clear regulation and program for imported GMO and animal food, and we shall label, oversee and perform laboratory tests on it in compliance with the European standards” is unfulfilled.

 

PROMISE: We shall introduce and implement clear regulation and program for imported GMO and animal food, and we shall label, oversee and perform laboratory tests on it in compliance with the European standards.

[Source: SDSM’s program – “Plan for Life in Macedonia”, page 221, December 2016]

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EXPLANATION:

SDSM’s promise to harmonize the domestic regulation of GMO food with the European, given before the 2016 general elections, remains unfulfilled (up to and including 26 September 2018).

The realization of this promise was planned for the first six months in office, but it’s been more than a year and the only outcome is a draft Directive, which envisions introducing GMO tolerance threshold of 0.9 percent, in accordance with the European regulations.

Namely, in August this year, the Food and Veterinary Agency (FVA) drafted a new Directive on the conditions and the procedure of issuing permits for releasing GM animal food into distribution and the conditions for its distribution and consumation, and also the conditions for releasing animal food that contains/consists of GMO into distribution. The proposal has been forwarded to the Government, which has to discuss it and determine whether the Law on GMO shall be amended.

The director of the Food and Veterinary Agency, Zoran Atanasov, clarified that the Directive which has been sent to the Government prescribes the cap of the GMO presence.

We have delivered a draft Directive to the Government. Apart from the manner of its implementation, the Directive also prescribes the tolerance threshold or the acceptability of random or technically unavoidable presence of GMO food during the production process. I would like to say that with this we will practically fully comply with the European regulations and legislation. This means that the GMO tolerance cap is going to be 0.9 percent. (Atanasov)

In September, the Food and Veterinary Agency initiated a scientific debate on the necessity of amending the current Law on Releasing GMO Food into Distribution. One of the debates, organized by the Chamber of Commerce, was attended by experts, business sector representatives and consumers.

Food producers urge for introduction of the European genetic modification tolerance cap of 0.9 percent.

Consumers, on the other hand, demand better information and regulation of this field, as well as improvement of the legislation.

According to FVA’s director Atanasov, the consumers will have the last say.

It would be the best solution, because the tolerance threshold ought to be determined, but there is also the consumers’ right to choose what to buy and whether thet will buy such food or not, the choice is theirs… However, they must know whether a certain product contains GMO. (Atanasov)

The Government has yet to give an opinion and determine whether this issue will be regulated only by a directive or the Law on GMO passed in 2013, which prohibits the use of GMO in human and animal food, will be amended.

This issue hasn’t been discussed in government session yet, which can be established from the agendas of government sessions in the period from 1 August until now (26 September 2018).

Notwithstanding the Government’s decision, the public discussion on the amendments of the Directive or of the Law will require additional time.

In view of the aforementioned, we deem that SDSM’s promise that we shall introduce and implement clear regulation and program for imported GMO and animal food, and we shall label, oversee and perform laboratory tests on it in compliance with the European standards is unfulfilled.

 

SOURCES:

Assessed by: Rada Isovska – Manevska

 


This article was created within the framework of the Project to increase the accountability of the politicians and political parties Truthmeter implemented by Metamorphosis. The article is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for Democracy(NED) and The Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, an initiative that supports democracy, good governance, and Euroatlantic integration in Southeastern Europe. The content is the responsibility of its author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, National Endowment for Democracy, the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, or its partners.