The Law on Genetically Modified Organisms from 2009 forbids growing, trade and transport of GMOs in Serbia.
However, in 2011, the changes of the Law that would liberalize the trade of GMOs were suggested as one of the requirements of admission to the EU and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Since then, various citizen groups and NGOs, supported by green party, some parliamentary deputies, Serbian scientists, experts and celebrities organized protest, street marches, and signing petitions against modification of the Law. The activists suggested introducing a 20 years moratorium on GMOs, while the experts proposed holding a national referendum to decide on the issue.
During 2012 and 2013, 111 out of 198 municipal governments in Serbia banned growing and trade of GMOs in their territories. Despite this, many farmers around Serbia are planting GMO soybean due to its lower costs of production. According to the Law, these fields should be destroyed and owners penalized. Farmers, however, have asked the government to either subsidies the non-GMO agricultural production, or change the Law so they could legally produce GMO crops. The experts also state that GMO corn and soybean, as well as meat from chicken, beef and pork fed with these crops, have been illegally imported to Serbia, and as such are not properly labelled as GMO products. The country does not count with a national laboratory for food inspection, despite of the several million of euros invested in this problem over the years.
After the big floods in Serbia in May 2014, Monsanto donated corn seed worth of 375,000 USD to the farmers in affected areas. In a response to the accusations in the media, the company and the Serbian government claimed the seeds were conventional and non-genetically modified. This was followed with another scandal in June 2014, when the media reported that McDonald’s burgers contained meat of chicken fed with GMO crops. The Law modifications is high in the agenda of Serbian parliament, particularly as Serbia is about to open Chapter 30 of the EU accession negotiations - concerning foreign economic relations. The Ministry of agriculture and environmental protection claims that Serbia will not allow production of GMO soya on its territory, due to the economic benefits of exporting non-GMO soya to the EU. In May 2015, Serbian government allowed use of "Danube Soya” label for GMO-free animal products in order to protect the consumers in Serbia. The government, however, have not convinced the representatives of academia who think the law has been already changed and just waiting to be approved without consultation with civil society and professionals.