The Biosecurity Board has decided to ban the entry of 26 genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into Turkey amid ongoing debates about whether genetically modified rice passed through customs.
The board, which is the deciding body on the issue in the country, unanimously rejected the entry authorization demands.The banned products include genetically modified sugar beet and rapeseed, which are permitted in European Union countries as feeders.Also, the demand to use 22 types of genetically modified corns as fuel was rejected unanimously on the grounds of scientific concerns about the products.With these decisions, only 19 products were allowed to enter Turkish markets.Corns and soy in 19 genetic types have been authorized to be imported for use as animal feed.Board calls for further research The board also called on universities and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) to conduct research on genetically modified products.
The Biosecurity Board’s decision came right after a debate on genetically modified rice. Recently, executives of three food companies were detained on grounds that rice about to be imported into Turkey from the Mersin port was genetically modified. The executives were later released. This incident has caused the debate on GMOs to heat up again. American officials joined the debate, saying legislation in Turkey should change and that penalties for GMOs should be moderated.
Corn and soy, in which GMOs are intensively used, are used as feed for chicken, fish and cattle. Corns generally make up about 10 to 20 percent of cattle feed, while soy constitutes less than 10 percent of this feed. Soy products are mostly used in fish feed.
The usage of GMOs as animal feed poses a threat to human health since scientific research has revealed that GMOs could pass from animals to humans when their meat is consumed.
U.S. officials demand Turkey facilitate usage of GMOs and soften the penalties on the issue.