It’s a simple case of the fox guarding the hen house. In Russia, the same people who are supposed to regulate and license genetically engineered food are themselves ambitious genetic engineers. In a chilling report partially reprinted in The Online Gadfly, a UC Riverside-based environmental policy webzine, the Russian Socio-Ecological Union (SEU) blows the whistle on the chaos and deceit that currently pervades Russian genetic engineering activities.
Because scientists are, in effect, policing themselves, many measures are being ignored, including labeling genetically modified foods and, perhaps more important, taking simple precautions in field tests. ‘Field trials of GE apple trees and strawberries in Orel were taking place right next to gardens growing apple trees and strawberries,’ explained Dan Swartz, the author of the report, published jointly with ANPED (the Northern Alliance for Sustainability), a network of non-governmental organizations based in Amsterdam. ‘Cross-pollination could result in these home-grown fruit becoming genetically engineered!’
The two organizations–SEU and ANPED–undertook the report to prevent Russia from becoming a dumping ground for genetically modified foods, products which are ‘unwanted or even banned in the European Union,’ according to the authors. The entire report is available from The Online Gadfly at firstname.lastname@example.org or from SEU at email@example.com. A Russian version is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.