Are GMO Products On Croatian Shelves?

Lauren Simmonds reported how a curious group took to Croatian stores in an attempt to find GMOs, they conducted an interesting experiment which involved testing how much the human eye and mouth can be trusted in identifying the differences between GMO fruits and vegetables and organic ones.

Volunteers who partook in the unusual experiment were shocked at how their assessments were often wrong.

The experiment involved two subjects sitting at a table and in front of each was a plate, the subjects were asked to exchange and examine the pieces of food on the plates, they could both handle, look at and taste the food and were then asked if they thought it was GMO or organic produce. The fruits and vegetables were changed a dozen times and the findings were surprising. It seems, despite the stories, that our eyes and taste buds cannot determine any difference between organic and GMO food.

The first genetically modified food put on sale here in Europe was discovered on the shelves of a UK supermarket in 1996, and three years later said produce was recalled and withdrawn from stores. The withdrawn produce in that scenario were GMO tomatoes, genetically engineered to exist without the gene that controls the gradual softening and rotting that occurs naturally. There is great criticism of GMO food coming from all angles, often regarding the fact that playing with nature likely causes untold damage to health. By July 1999, the British supermarkets in question were forced to remove all GMO produce from sale. 

As of July 2013, Croatia has been a member of the EU, due to this, Croatia became answerable to a number of rules that are harmonised with EU Directives. Among these rules is the regulation of GMO products. In simpler terms, this means that there is a possibility that GMO food will land on our shelves in compliance with additional national provisions implementing regulations. According to a large number of official controls carried out in the field of GMOs, 0.9% of GMOs found in Croatia are considered to be accidental and due to contamination, the Ministry of Health assures us that such products are and will continue to be clearly labelled. In Croatia, the presence of GMO produce has been carefully monitored since 2007, and there have apparently been no reports of harmful effects or sickness linked with them so far.

The Ministry of Health declared that all GMO food or food with GMO ingredients of some kind has been approved for placement on the EU market only after intense evaluation by the European Food Agency to confirm their safety for the environment, and  for human and animal consumption. It is claimed that these extensive tests included assessment of toxicity, and while current studies seem to show no known effects on overall human health, the long-term effects are still highly questionable and under investigation. The European market has banned certain genetically modified rice and rice products, in addition, produce that may contain genetically modified ingredients or contains ingredients produced from genetically modified sources are banned in Croatia and in several other EU countries.

As okay most of us here in Croatia are with our long-lasting milk, it seems our concerns about GMOs are relevant and well founded. Thanks to the policies currently in place here, it looks like our fruit and vegetables will remain organic, for now. 


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