Genetically modified organisms are formed as a result of a laboratory process where the genes of one species are extracted and inserted into another species. While genetics modified organisms can be argued to be the answer to protect against pests, diseases, and natural spoiling process to cushion the future of food production, the reality is that some section of the population is opposed to the production of GMOs. The reasons for the opposition ranges from the perception that GMOs are harmful to our health and harm the environment despite the scientific proof that most of them are indeed safe for human consumption and are beneficial to the environment since they can withstand many challenges. These differences make different countries adapt or be opposed to the adoption of GMOs (Bennett, Chi-Ham, Barrows, Sexton, & Zilberman, 2013). This paper is going to discuss two such countries, Sweden and Russia that have different rules on the adoption of GMOs. The comparison is going to discuss how the social response, the ethical and attitude towards GMOs affect the uptake of GMO in the Sweden and Russia.
The development of genetically modified crops has been controversial for several reasons. The first reason is that GM products pose potential negative environmental and health effects and also that the technology might lead to the full corporatization of agriculture. Others argue that it is unethical to manipulate life in the laboratory. GM products have been in existence for several years. It can be summarized that the GMO production has had some accrued benefits to the population although there continue to be ethical issues in the use of the products. Many countries like the USA have supported the production of GMO products while others prohibit the growth of these products. GMO products are banned in both Russia and Sweden. There is a different extent on the prohibition of the GMO products in the two countries. The opposition to the production of GMO products is also informed by various reasons between the two nations (Bennett, Chi-Ham, Barrows, Sexton, & Zilberman, 2013).
Russia and Sweden both have opposed the use of GMO and GE products in its territory. This opposition is fueled by different factors both ethical, social and attitudes towards the products in the two countries. The ban of GMO can be informed by the legislative action of an individual country. The government can decide to ban the GMO products altogether in a country or apply a selective ban where some GMO products will be permitted in the country while others not permitted. In the case of Russia, the government banned the production of GMO products on the Russian territory. The legislation is meant to strengthen the control of GMOs within the Russian territory. The legislation on the import procedure of genetically modified products is also enacted under the law. The only exemption is the production of GMOs for research work activities in the Russian territory which still need to adhere to the registration procedure stated under the law (Roudik, 2016; Korobko, Georgiev, Skryabin, & Kirpichnikov, 2016).
Public opinions and attitude are important in any society for the adoption of any product. The public attitude can be informed by facts or just perceptions that might not be even true, but they all impact the uptake of GM products in a country. In Sweden, the population is wary of GM products. A large percentage of the Swedes would not want GM products in their food. These opinions are fueled by the perception that GM products are dangerous or commercially undesirable. Some other retail stores have refused the sale of GMO products in their stores due to a lower uptake of the products by consumers. The scientific and the NGOs in Sweden have not agreed on a firm stand on GMO products thus do not favor nor oppose the use of GMO products. On the other hand, the government does not support not oppose the use of GMO products and deal with each on a case by case basis. These market forces have led to any company not wanting to associate with GM products and have led to few GM products in Sweden (Hofverberg, 2014).
On the other hand, Russian consumers prefer to buy GMO-free products. Majority of the consumers would not purchase food if it contained GM products. However, the general trend in the market is that the consumers will buy food based on the prices. It thus implies that the general Russian market might still purchase the GMO products if the prices are favorable. The agricultural producers and the scientific community in Russia support the production of GMO products. Environmentalists, on the other hand, are opposed to the production of GMO foods in Russia since they consider it dangerous and advocate for the domestic production of organic food since they consider it to have higher yields and are more environmentally friendly (Roudik, 2016).
On the research, marketing and the production of GM products, different laws are put down to control the same. The regulation of the research will influence, labeling of the foodstuffs and definition of the responsible agencies for the liabilities as a result of GM production influences the uptake of GM products in countries. In Russia, field trials on GM products are not expressly prohibited although a special permission from the Variety Testing Commission is required before carrying out any field trials. On the hand in Sweden, the testing of GM products is regulated by their environment chapter, and any test needs approval from the relevant government authority. In Russia, all the organizations that import or trade in foodstuffs need to inform the consumers of the presence of GM in the foodstuffs when each biotech exceeds 0.9%. Labelling of the GMOs products in animal fodder is not required in Russia. On the other hand, the animal fodder, food, and pharmaceuticals need to have GMO labeling in Sweden. In Russia, no single agency is responsible for making decisions on the safety of GM products. Several Russian authority is responsible for putting down laws for the control of GM productions. In Sweden, several agencies like in Russia are responsible for permitting the generation and use of GM products in the country (Hofverberg, 2014; Roudik, 2014).
The use of GMO products is informed by different reasons in different countries. The adoption of genetic engineering is informed by the perception of the population on the use of GM products and the legislation put in place for the control of GMO products. The legislation put like the labeling of GMO products can assist in the objective adoption of GMO products Sweden has imposed selective banning of GMO products while Russia has a total ban on the cultivation of GMO products within their territory. For the acceptability of the GMO products in the future, the population needs to be objectively informed about the benefits and the shortcomings of GMO products. Extensive research in the development of GMO products together with strong legislation on the cultivation of GMO products will inform the adoption of GM products. It will not only improve the food security in the world but will also cushion the consumers against possible exploitation by the corporations. A comparison of GMO in Sweden and Russian showed that Sweden restricts GMO productions selectively like it is permitted in animal fodder and Amflora potato which is a GM product is permitted in the country. In Russia, there is a total ban on GMO products productions in the country.
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