Telephone negotiations between the Rosselkhoznadzor officials and Nebojsa Miloslavljevic, Director of the Plant Protection Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture. Forestry and Water Management of the Republic Serbia were held on May 18, 2021.
The parties discussed detection of GMO components by the Rosselkhoznadzor specialists in maize seeds imported from Serbia to Russia. It was the first case of GMO detection in cultivated plant seeds imported to the Russian Federation from other countries. The Rosselkhoznadzor informed about this fact in April, 2021. Genetically modified elements, p-35S, t-NOS, gene pat (GM maize line Bt11), were detected by the Southern Interregional Administration of the Rosselkhoznadzor in Rodna1 maize consignment (4.7 t) supplied by the Serbian consignor (“Genetics Plus doo”, 11060 Belgrade, Bratstva i jedinstva 73) to the Russian Federation. The consignments were sampled at their entry to border control posts of the Russian Federation.
Later, the Southern Interregional Administration of the Rosselkhoznadzor in coordination with the Prosecutor’s Office organized an unscheduled on-site inspection of the warehouse where the products were to be transported for temporary storage according to their accompanying documents. Another three consignments of the same Rodna 1 maize seeds shipped by the same consignor from Serbia to Russia were detected during the above-said inspection at the warehouse. The Rosselkhoznadzor officers took seed samples and sent them to the FGBI “Federal Centre for Grain and Grain Product Safety and Quality Control” for testing. GMO components (Bt11 line GM maize) were also detected in the products stored in the warehouse (about 19.4 t) according to the test results. Thus, totally four consignments of maize seeds containing genetically modified organisms (23.9 t) were shipped from Serbia to Russia.
The Rosselkhoznadzor addressed to the Serbian colleagues with a request to undertake investigation for determination of the incident causes and to ban maize seed import from «Genetics Plus doo» Serbian company to Russia until the investigation completion.
The Rosselkhoznadzor officials have noted that the Russian party will have to consider imposition of temporary restriction on maize seed import from Serbia in case of repeated import of GMO-containing products from Serbia.
Nebojsa Miloslavljevic has informed that the Serbian authority currently finds out how GM products were shipped to Russia. Director of the Plant Protection Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management of the Republic Serbia said that during the investigation Serbian inspectors visited the establishment where the seeds were processed before their export from Serbia to Russia. Samples were taken from the products kept at the establishment and sent for laboratory testing that detected GM components in the said products. Serbian colleagues have asserted that growing of GMO crops is banned by the Serbian legislation so they have suspected that GM component-containing seeds could be illegally imported to Serbia from other countries. The investigation will be continued. The Rosselkhoznadzor will be provided with the information on its interim results for analysis.
Serbian party also raised issue of stone fruit export to Russia during the negotiations. In August 2020, the Rosselkhoznadzor already informed about Monilinia fructicola detection in four stone fruit consignments shipped from Serbia to Russia by three exporters. Thereat, the Rosselkhoznadzor addressed to the Serbian colleagues with a request to suspend issuing phytosanitary certificates for stone fruit shipped to Russia to by the said companies. The said companies are as follows:
- PDM AGROFRUIT DO;
- FRUTOMIL PROMET DOO;
- DOO RAMBO NM BRESTOVIK.
Nebojsa Miloslavljevic have noted that the said companies are ready to be inspected by the Rosselkhozandzor in videoformat during stone fruit (sweet cherry, apricot, peach, nectarine) harvesting period that will start within two weeks. Official letter containing the said request for videoinspection and preliminary inspection time periods will be forwarded to the Rosselkhoznadzor.
At the end, the parties discussed integration of the information systems of Serbia and Russia in the field of phytosanitary control that will ensure complete plant product traceability during mutual supplies. Serbian party should speed up the process of agreeing of the integration process steps.