“Main risk is soybeans” – head of the State Food Safety and Consumer Protection Service
EXCERPT: [The head of the State Food Safety and Consumer Protection Service, Volodymyr Lapa] said GM soybean seeds are being illegally imported into the country and can be bought online easily.
Ukraine strengthening GMO export control to defend producers
By Pavel Polityuk
Daily Mail, 6 Dec 2016
Ukraine, the world's third-largest grain exporter, plans to strengthen checks for genetically modified organisms (GMOs), a senior agriculture official said on Tuesday, citing soybeans as a particular concern.
In Ukraine it is not illegal to grow GM plants, but no GMOs have the official registration needed for legal cultivation, the head of the State Food Safety and Consumer Protection Service, Volodymyr Lapa, told Reuters.
"Under the law, there are no GM crops that can be grown in Ukraine. This means that if by chance it turns out that a manufactured product comes from a plant of GM origin, this product must be disposed of," he said.
"The main risk is soybeans," he added.
Lapa said GM soybean seeds are being illegally imported into the country and can be bought online easily.
This is a concern for the watchdog, because in recent years Ukraine has ramped up soybean output, producing more than 4 million tonnes in 2016 compared with around 1 million tonnes in 2009, thanks to a favourable climate.
Grain export capacity at Ukraine's sea ports could jump to around 157 million tonnes by 2020 from the current 58.5 million tonnes, a senior transport official said last month, with 36 port facilities likely to be constructed in the next four years.
Much of the crop is exported - last year nearly 60 percent of the 3.9-million-tonne harvest was shipped abroad, mainly to Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon and Greece.
Ukraine also exported fodder with soybean to Russia, but this summer Moscow banned such imports, saying they contained GMO soy.
Lapa said if an export shipment is found to contain GMO products, the watchdog will seize and dispose of it, before investigating its source of origin to find every producer guilty of breaking the rules.
"Our mission is very simple - to achieve compliance with the law," he said.
He said the current chain of logistics did not prevent the mixing of GMO and GMO-free soybeans and this could create possible risks for conscientious producers.
"This is not just about ensuring order on the market, but also a matter of protecting bona fide producers that follow the law and grow GMO-free soybeans," Lapa said.
(Editing by Alessandra Prentice and Dale Hudson)