Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed the Russian Federation Code of Administrative Offences into law, including a new article establishing liability for the violation of mandatory requirements for the labeling of food products that contain GMOs.
Putin signed the new bill on the last day of 2014 TASS news agency reported.
The bill which was submitted by the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor) imposes fines for vague or unclear labeling on food products containing genetically modified ingredients.
According to the bill, individual entrepreneurs could be fined up to 50,000 rubles ($890), and the products will be confiscated. Business entities face a fine of up to 150,000 rubles (over $5,300).
President Putin said in 2014 that Russia must protect its citizens from overconsumption of products containing genetically modified organisms. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev followed this with a statement that Russia has no intention to import GMOs, however there are still large quantities of GMO foods being imported in to Russia.
Russian Minister of Agriculture Nikolai Fyodorov believes that Russia must remain a GMO-free country. At a meeting of deputies representing rural areas organized by United Russia, he said that the government will not “poison their citizens.”
In February, a group of senators from Russia’s Federation Council introduced a bill seeking to prohibit the distribution and import of products containing GMOs in Russia.
According to the explanatory note attached to the bill, only 18 lines of GMOs are officially allowed in Russia at the moment. This is a far lower number than in other countries, as the Russian farming industry has long maintained extensive restrictions on the use of technology related to GMOs. The senators say that because of its WTO membership, Russian markets could import numerous genetically modified products from other countries, thereby destabilizing the situation.