February 15, 2016
Russia’s food safety regulator Rosselkhoznadzor just announced a complete ban starting February 15 on all US corn and soy imports. This is a huge blow to organic and GM farmers alike, though the ban will be instated due to genetically modified crop and microbial contamination.
Though the total exports to Russia from the US are small in comparison to soybean exports, totaling over $156 million in recent years, with Russia importing only 4,742 metric tons of U.S. corn, the ban will still hurt US farmers.
Assistant Director of the Rosselkhoznadzor, Alexey Alekseenko said:
“Restrictions will be imposed on imports starting from February 15. They (the US) have to establish a system to ensure safety of products imported to Russia.”
China has issued similar bans in the past due to GM contamination, and only recently did an “about face” on the issue. US corn exports to the country recently dropped by 85% after a report detailing GM contamination was released.
Putin recently said that Russians need to be protected from GM crops. The food latest ban follows that credo. According to the regulator, the corn imported from the US is often infected with dry rot of maize. In addition, according to the Russian watchdog, corn can be used for transgenic crops in Russia. The potential damage from import and spread of quarantinable objects on the territory of Russia is estimated at 10-15 bln rubles ($126 mln-189 mln) annually.