"GMO ban still in place in Serbia"

BELGRADE -- The law in Serbia bans the production and import of any genetically modified (GMO) foods and seeds, Agriculture Minister Saša Dragin said on Thursday.

The Ministry of Agriculture has a restrictive policy when it comes to GMOs, and for that reason imports, production and consumption of genetically modified food are prohibited and Serbia will continue producing healthy food, he said.

The Novi Sad environment protection movement Wednesday accused Dragin of misinforming the public that there is no genetically modified food in Serbia.

It is public knowledge that the MK Group has since 2007 been officially importing genetically modified seeds and herbicides from the US company Monsanto, they said.

Reacting to unchecked allegations that have been made public, Dragin said that Ministry of Agriculture inspectors are carrying out controls and that if any GMO plantings are found, they order their destruction and file charges against the lawbreakers.

European Union legislation on agriculture is dynamic an constantly changing, he said.

At no time has the EU requested that Serbia allow genetically modified food because it is not allowed in any EU country. The only thing required of Serbia is to form a professional body which will examine the products that could contain these ingredients, Dragin said.

MK Group rejected Tuesday as unfounded the claims that it has a contract with Monsanto on importing genetically modified seeds.