Does Georgia import genetically modified food?

  • Georgia’s National Food Agency spent the past two years verifying product labels to check whether imported food products were genetically modified. Photo by N. Alavidze/Agenda.ge
Agenda.ge, 8 Jul 2015 - 18:04, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Georgian market is free from genetically modified products imported from abroad, says a new report by the National Food Agency.

Georgia’s National Food Agency spent the past two years verifying product labels to check whether imported food products were genetically modified and if they were, the products were removed from the Georgian market.

"We examined about 50 samples of products that are deemed to be high risk of being genetically modified. Such products are soy, corn, potato starch, rice, sugar and many other products. Our research found those 50 samples were free from genetically modified elements,” Kakha Sokhadze, head of the Food Department at the National Food Agency, told Agenda.ge.

As for locally produced food products, Sokhadze explained the products made in Georgia were not genetically modified.

"According to a law that was launched last year it is forbidden to import genetically modified seeds. So it is impossible to produce genetically modified food products in Georgia,” he said.

The GMO [genetically modified organism] industry is not developed in Georgia. The National Food Agency has been implementing research on food products imported and sold in the Georgian market and make laboratory research at the same time.”

Sokhadze stressed the National Food Agency continued to run the testing program, even today, where Agency employees regularly brought in samples from the local market into the laboratory to test and control what food products were sold.

A new law came into force on July 1, 2015 that noted all products that contained genetically modified components must have proper labels informing consumers of this fact.

The new law regulated the type of information that must be written on the label. Specifically, if genetically modified components were 0.9 percent more than the product’s total mass, a label stating "GM” must be clearly identified on the top left corner of the product.

Those who break the law will be fined 5,000 GEL. If the wrongdoing repeats the fine will increase to 10,000 GEL.

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