GMOs ban, Croatia

Thanks to Zelena Akcija (Green Action- Friends of the Earth Croatia) and other organizations, Croatia remains part of a group of the EU member states with stringent national policies against GMOs.


Several stringent laws regulating genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Croatia entered into force despite pressure by the United States of America (US), who threatened Croatia with World Trade Organization (WTO) action in 2001. The fact that Croatia went ahead with its restrictive policies on GMOs should be thanked principally to activities by NGO Green Action (Zelena Akcija)- Friends of the Earth (FoE) Croatia that since this country signed the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and ratified the Convention on the Biological Diversity asked for its Government to form a Bioethical Committee and deliver a Law on GMO. A new Croatian law on GMOs came into force during 2005. This law bans the release of GMOs in protected areas including their buffer zones, as well as in areas of organic farming and those important for ecotourism. Additionally, 14 (out of 20) Croatian counties decided to declare themselves GMO-free. The law, however, does not provides labelling threshold, although a separate government regulations set 0.9% for food and 0% for seeds. This means that the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare could change labelling threshold. Green Action have been performing activities and calling on public attention on the changes in the laws on GMOs, particularly in light of Croatia accession to and membership in the European Union (EU). As a result, Croatia remains part of a group of the EU member states with more stringent national policies. For example, in 2009 Green Action pointed on the risk of introduction in the Law of the concept of coexistence, i.e., parallel planting genetically modified, traditional, and organic crops. In 2015, Croatia together with other 16 EU members requested and got approved the exclusion of its territory from the approval of expansion GMOs production to the agricultural bio-technical companies. In 2017, there is raising demand of introducing “GMO-free labels” to the products sold at the Croatian market, as currently consumers in this country and other EU member states cannot be sure that the products they buy does not contain GMOs. 

Basic Data
NameGMOs ban, Croatia
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)GMOs
Specific CommoditiesAnimal and plant products
Fruits and Vegetables
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsLaws banning GMOs. Croatia remains part of a group of the EU member states with the most stringent national policies against GMOs.
Type of PopulationUnknown
Potential Affected Population4.253.000 (population of Croatia)
Start Date2001
Relevant government actorsGovernment of the Republic of Croatia; The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare; The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersZelena Akcija (Green Action- Friends of the Earth Croatia), supported by 22 citizens' associations and unions
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingInternational ejos
Local ejos
Forms of MobilizationArtistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Boycotts of companies-products
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Genetic contamination, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseNew legislation
Development of AlternativesCroatian NGO Green Action demands for more stringent national GMOs related laws and policies than the EU norm prescribe.
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.NGO Green Action have been successfully keeping Croatia free from GMO through its action of public awareness raising and lobbying with the national decision-makers and the country's representative in the EU parliament.
Sources and Materials

Legal Frameworks on GMOs
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GMO-free Europe, Croatia
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A Regional Food Industry Conference ended
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Black and White List
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A call to boycott GMO products
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"The Tomato Monster" in Zagreb
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Campaign against GMOs in Croatia
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Naša hrana-naša odluka!
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Hrvatska izuzeta iz odobrenja za uzgoj gmo usjeva
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Zakon o GMO - javnost nema pravo znati?
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GMO-free Counties in the Republic of Croatia
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Hrvatska ne smije podilaziti biotehnološkim lobijima na razini Europske unije!
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U.S. and biotech corporations impose genetically modified organisms worldwide under WTO threats
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Croatia to Introduce "Gmo Free" Food Labels
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Other Documents

Green Action' silent protest against GMOs The sign reads: "Our food. Our decision."
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorJovanka Spiric, vankajo(at), Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona
Last update14/04/2017