Croatia to Introduce “GMO Free” Food Labels?

By , 11 Jan 2017, 16:34 PM Business

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Agriculture Minister supports the idea.

There are growing demands in Croatia that food which has absolutely no genetically modified organisms should be officially labelled as “GMO free” since, at the moment, by purchasing food in Croatia and in other parts of the EU consumers cannot be absolutely sure that they are not buying small doses of GMOs as well, reports Večernji List on January 11, 2017.

Currently, the fact that there is no GMO label on the food implies that there are no GMOs in it at all, which is not necessarily true. Although there is no reason to think that the EU could soon change its legislative framework related to the presence or absence of GMOs in food, it is not unrealistic to hope that individual EU member states, including Croatia, could adopt regulations labelling as GMO-free those products which contain absolutely no GMOs.

The latest initiative was launched by Member of European Parliament Marijana Petir who wants to label GMO-free food as such, as well as to proclaim the whole Alps-Adriatic region as a GMO-free zone. Her initiative is supported by 35 MEPs from Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Hungary and Croatia. “Croatia should definitely adopt a law to regulate the labelling of GMO-free products. The fact that in Croatia it is not allowed to sow using GMO seeds or to produce GMO agricultural products is our strategic advantage which we have to take advantage of, for the benefit of our agriculture and tourism”, said Petir.

Today as many as 18 EU members do not have a law which would regulate the labelling of food without GMOs. “Consumers in all countries should have the right to an informed decision about food they buy, and GMO-free label may provide additional value for certain agricultural products, increase profits for farmers and open new markets for their products. And it will also be easier for them to compete with import goods which can be contaminated with GMOs and which should also be labelled so that consumers know what they are buying”, explained Petir.

Her position is supported by geneticist Marijan Jošt and chairman of Croatian Chamber of Agriculture Mato Brlošić. “I absolutely support the idea for labelling of GMO-free food, and we should also investigate the issue of GM soybean which is now mostly used for feeding cattle”, said Jošt. Brlošić called for stronger controls on imported soybean, which mostly comes from GMO infested Brazil.

Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić said that Croatian producers deserved for their products to be labelled as GMO-free and added that he was already working on establishing a system for the identification and control of GMO-free food products. “Special attention will be given to educating consumers about the difference in the food products that will carry such a label, in comparison with the food that will be label-free”, explained Tolušić.

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