Ukraine's Rada adopts law establishing rules for genetically modified organism circulation
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Ukraine's parliament passed legislation on Wednesday to establish rules for genetically modified organism (GMO) production and use in the country. The Verkhovna Rada adopted draft law No. 5839 by 276 votes in favor, according to an announcement by Yaroslav Zheleznyak, first deputy chair of the parliamentary tax committee.

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The bill "On state regulation of genetic engineering activities and state control over the circulation of genetically modified organisms and genetically modified products to ensure food safety" was adopted by the parliament as a basis on November 16, 2022.

Among other things, the law defines the terms "genetically modified organism", "genetically modified products", "GM products as a food product", state registration of GMOs is introduced, etc.

Before the adoption of the law in the second reading, amendments were made to it, which prohibit the cultivation and import of genetically modified corn, as well as the cultivation of genetically modified sugar beets and rapeseed for five years.

A GMO is any organism whose genetic material has been purposefully altered by introducing nucleic acid into its genome. Such replacement takes considerable time or is impossible in the case of natural crossing. Thanks to GM, agricultural crops gain resistance to certain pests, drought, etc.

The main purpose of the law is to fulfill Ukraine's obligations under the Association Agreement with the EU. It should contribute to the de-criminalization of the GMO circulation market and the creation of transparent rules for conducting business related to genetically modified organisms.

The main provisions of the bill stipulate:

→ separation of powers of state authorities in order to eliminate duplication of functions in the field of handling GMOs;
→ improvement of the GMO risk assessment system regarding the possible impact on human health and the natural environment;
→ introduction of full-fledged regulation of genetic engineering activities in a closed system;
→ introduction of European mechanisms for state registration of GMOs and creation of a single register of GM sources;
→ introducing the concept of post-registration monitoring and traceability;
→ improvement of the requirements for the labeling of GM products;
→ strengthening state control at all stages of handling GMOs (creation, testing, production/cultivation, circulation and labeling), as well as establishing responsibility for violations of legislation in this area.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, since the adoption of the law "On the State System of Biosafety in the Creation, Testing, Transportation and Use of Genetically Modified Organisms" in 2007, no GMO products have been registered in Ukraine.

At the same time, in recent years, a shadow market of GMO products has formed in the country, which is in circulation outside of any control.

At the end of June 2023 , Ukraine simplified seed certification. The resolution adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers is designed to fulfill Ukraine's European integration obligations.