The Russian Agriculture Ministry holds a conservative opinion on the spread of genetically modified organisms (GMO).

"The Ministry of Agriculture's opinion is conservative. We are very skeptical about widespread distribution, particularly into the industrial production of plants and animals with GMO food sources," Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov said at a press conference on Monday in Moscow.

He said that the agency has been instructed by Russian President Vladimir Putin to update the current laws concerning genetically modified foods. The minister of agriculture is currently working on this together with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education and Science and the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor).

Fyodorov said that "the Ministry of Agriculture is against modified crops and animal products without the necessary, extensive and continuing scientific research on the possible effects of using such products."

The minister also said that "it is unacceptable not to deal with and not to monitor what is happening in this market. We say 'yes' to scientific research, and it's necessary to keep our eye on the ball, but we mustn't allow GMOs to enter crop farming and production," he said.

Fyodorov said that there are currently genetically modified seeds in Russia that are registered under current legislation and are approved for use. "But our task in changing the law is to bring necessary order to this sphere," he said.

"As I see it, there is no order in this sphere. It is necessary to create new legislation that is sufficiently conservative as concerns using genetically modified food products in the crop and livestock sectors." The minister said that this is his personal opinion.

In autumn of this year, the Russian government adopted a regulation that allows for several types of crop production with GMO food sources to be registered in Russia, particularly soy. A number of experts believe that by 2016 or 2017, the first harvest of genetically modified soy may be harvested in Russia.

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