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Genetically modified organisms still surrounded by controversy in Lithuania

2010-01-05

Genetically modified organisms still surrounded by controversy in Lithuania

Ordered by the Ministry of Environment, a study of the effects of genetically modified organisms that have been authorised and are planned to be used on the social and economic environment has been carried out in Lithuania. According to Dr. Romas Lazutka who headed this study, there is still a big controversy surrounding genetically modified (GM) products not only in Lithuania but also in entire Europe.

Their economic evaluation is linked to the importance of these products for the country’s market – their quantities and prices. Six types of GM foodstuffs are currently available in Lithuania. These are vegetable oil, margarine or fat mixture, mayonnaise, toasted bread, sweets and food supplements. The study has shown that prices of GM products at Lithuanian supermarkets are lower than those of traditional products by a third.

According to the sociological study, approximately half of the country’s residents have a negative opinion about GM organisms. Slightly more than half of respondents did not know or were not sure whether they bought and consumed GM products. Almost 40% of respondents said they bought GM products because they were cheaper. Some residents believe that GM products should be put separately from other products in stores and that information on them should be printed in larger letters. However, according to Laimutis Budrys, director of the Nature Protection Department of the Ministry of Environment, the European Commission does not allow to do this.

The study has shown that business representatives do not have a unanimous opinion on the country’s attitude towards GM products. According to Laimutis Budrys, Lithuania maintains a cautious and reserved position on the possibility of cultivating GM crops and development of the manufacturing of GM products in the country. Some business representatives approve of such a position and suggest maintaining it until final conclusions on the effect of GMO on animals and humans are received.

Ministry of Environment information, tel. 266 3660

05 January 2010

Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas