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Genetically Modified Organisms in Romania. “ Nobody has the right to commit the sacrilege to modify the genetic code. …

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Genetically Modified Organisms in Romania

  • “ Nobody has the right to commit the sacrilege to modify the genetic code.

  • The Sin whatever is happening under our eyes with the Governments’ approval and money - with our money actually - because is not far away the day when the biologist will start trafficking the genes and chromosomes.

  • As no human power is intervening to stop this, on the contrary declaring it scientific activity and progress, the consequences of these activities are incalculable.”

  • Robert Charroux, The Book of Mysterious Past

  • 1973, Robert Laffont edition

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Romania: GMO Beginnings

  • 1996: Started the 3 years registration procedure for GM field varieties

  • 1999: First GM crop commercial crop was launched on the market - herbicide resistant soybeans

  • 2000: First GMO legislation had been adopted for release in the field, no food labeling, no monitoring, inspection and traceability

  • GM field crops presence in the National Seed Variety Catalogue:

  • 1999: one GM soybeans variety; one GM potato variety

  • 2000: two GM soybeans varieties; one GM potato variety; one GM sugar-beet variety; eight GM maize hybrids

  • 2003: ten GM soybeans varieties

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Romania: GMO Beginnings

  • Considerations:

  • At the time GM crops have been introduced in the field (1999), Romania had no legislation with respect to GMO (the first legislation had been adopted in 2000)

  • Romania was not prepared to administrate GM technology from agronomic, economic and legal point of view

  • Precaution Principle totally neglected in approaching GMO

  • Desynchronized with EU - moratorium introduction

  • No monitoring and control system designed for GMO

  • No public information and participation (still missing even today)

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Romania: GMO Present Situation

  • Romania is the only European country allowing the cultivation of herbicide resistant GM crops on large scale

  • 2005: Out of 120000 Ha of GM soybeans the Ministry of Agriculture is reporting 85000 Ha while the biotech companies are reporting only 40000 Ha

  • Huge acreage of GM soybeans planted with non-certified seed (70000 - 80000 Ha)

  • Lack of GMO specialized officials in different governmental institutions: Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Environment Protection Agencies, Environmental National Guard, Consumer Protection National Authority, Sanitary National Agency, Agriculture and Farmer Organizations, Food Industry Organizations etc.: No certified testing laboratories (PCR or similar); No monitoring, inspection and control; No GMO inspectors

  • Unclear responsibilities in regulating, monitoring and controlling GM food: Consumer Protection National Authority or Sanitary National Agency?

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Romania: GMO Present Situation

  • Despite the cultivation of GM crops and their presence on the market, there is no public awareness about GMO

  • There are no functional mechanisms to enable public access to information on environmental releases of GMO and no procedures for public consultation

  • EU GMO legislation not fully translated and implemented

  • EU accession will pose problems in applying CAP

  • Romanian food industry will be under threat due to lack of labeling and traceability

  • Romania pharmaceutical industry will be jeopardized by the lack of any GMO legislation, labeling and traceability

  • Due to the fact that GM herbicide resistant soybeans is not approved in EU, the member states and EC will put Romania “under fire” if planting will continue

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GMO Romania: What is to be done?

  • The recent EU Country Report - end of October 2005 - shows that Romania needs to intensify its efforts with respect to GMO in order to be ready for EU accession in 2007. Legislation must be adopted and implemented with respect to traceability, labeling, monitoring and inspection. Romania must develop at least 3 certified PCR laboratories for GMO test.

  • The commercialization of GM crops could also have important social and economic impact as Romania loses it export markets for agricultural and food products in the European Union (EU), where consumers are demanding GMO-free food.

  • As Romania pro-GMO position has already posed problems in Europe, specially in the Balkan Region, the country will have to decontaminate itself from unapproved GM varieties and put in place working systems on releases of GMO and on food labeling.

  • The decontamination process is likely to take several years and Romania may become a test-case for whether GM crop-plant decontamination is possible at all.

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GMO Romania: What is to be done?

  • Romania is a European country and must be a reliable and credible member of EU family

  • Romanian citizens are willing to act as European citizens

  • Romania needs EU and your help and guidance in re-approaching and administrating the sensitive GMO situation

  • Please do offer your unconditional support to Romanian public and authorities in managing the GMO problem

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