ZAGREB, Sept 20 (Croatia Sun News) – Parliament debated on a bill on genetically modified organisms (GMO) today, with most lawmakers asking whether the bill will enable GMO products to enter the Croatian market, while the State Secretary at the Health Ministry, Zeljko Plazonic, resolutely denied any such possibility, stressing that the bill in fact tightened controls.
The bill harmonises Croatia’s legislation with the EU directive that relates to GMO and elaborates how to estimate the risk of GMO for the environment, it improves the traceability of GMO products and tightens controls, and restricts the use and effects of using GMO products, Plazonic said.
He dispelled fears that Croatians would be flooded with GMO products and become laboratory rats for GMO, saying that controls would be tightened.
As far as introducing GMO or banning its use for agricultural purposes, the EU directive enables each member state to decide whether it will ban it or not, he said.
Zeljko Jovanovic (SDP) expressed hope that there would be no public hysteria or unjustified alarms again as the bill goes in favour of opponents of GMO.
The most important difference in the new bill is that it envisages keeping records of the use of medicines and medicinal products containing GMO in clinical tests, genetic therapy, prevention and treatment.
“Not one country in the world can be totally GMO free because that would mean that we could not conduct bio-medical research or produce medicines and antibiotics,” said Jovanovic.
Josip Krizanic (HDZ) noted that in the first three months of 2019 the Health Ministry conducted tests on 92 food samples and all were negative for GMO, adding that in 2018 the Agriculture Ministry did not find any traces of GMO in seeds.
All Croatian counties wish to remain GMO free and this bill should ensure that, Davor Vlaovic (HSS) said and called for a second reading of the bill until which the bill should be amended to ban experiments with GMO on open fields.
Miro Bulj of the Bridge party said that his party would send a new bill to parliament that will completely ban GMO in Croatia.
The first reading of the bill received support from both the ruling majority and the opposition.