The Russian government will ban production of goods using genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich was quoted as saying Friday.
"The question is complicated, but the decision was made: We are not going to produce any food products using genetically modified organisms," Dvorkovich said at an agricultural forum, the Prime news agency reported.
GMOs in agriculture have become a controversial issue worldwide, with several dozen nations banning their import or use. Critics of GMOs say they are potentially hazardous to human health and the environment, but many scientists oppose limits on their use, insisting GMOs have been used for years and are perfectly safe.
Russian authorities have been tightening rules against GMOs for some time. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said last year that Russia would not import GMO products, and the government approved a draft law banning GMO cultivation, except for research purposes, in early 2015, Prime reported.
Dvorkovich, speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June, said that Russia would not resort to using GMOs to boost agricultural output, and that Russia has "chosen a different path" to boost crop yields, according to naturalnews.com.
President Vladimir Putin in 2014 said measures should be taken to protect the Russian market and consumers from GMO products, as their use could have unforeseen consequences, news agency RIA Novosti reported.