GMO (genetically modified organisms) in Croatia: Guide for 2024

Fruit in supermarket in Croatia
Fruit in supermarket in Croatia

UPDATED: 17.5.2023.

GMO refers to any plant, animal, or microorganism whose genetic makeup has been altered within a lab. This results in the creation of things that don’t occur in nature.

GMO stands for a genetically modified organism, which is called genetski modificirani organizmi in Croatian. This article is a brief summary of the current state of GMOs in Croatia.

In this article, we cover:

The facts are these…

Why is GMO a big deal?

GMO is still relatively new, so there isn’t any definitive consensus on whether they are the cause of health problems.

However, some research has shown that genetically-modified products may cause or lead to allergic reactions, cancer, antibacterial resistance, and gene transfer.

There are also concerns about the effects they have on the environment. They inevitably cross-breed and introduce non-natural elements into nature, affecting how the food chain functions.

How does Croatia handle GMO?

Croatia leans towards the protection against transboundary pollution and preservation of traditional agricultural production, biodiversity, and tourism. After joining the European Union, Croatia introduced new legislation called Zakon o genetski modificiranim organizmima (Law on Genetically Modified Organisms). It is available here.

This law was implemented to align Croatian legislation with EU directives. However, it did not lead to any significant changes in the regulation of genetically-modified organisms.

The EU leaves GMO-related decisions to the discretion of its members. Every EU member country has the right to decide for itself whether to import and grow genetically-modified products as well as how much is allowed and how they should be labeled.

In Croatia, any product that contains more than 0,9% of GMO is considered genetically modified and must be labeled as such. This is less than the 1% standard in most EU countries.

Quick facts on GMO in Croatia

Here are some quick facts about GMO in Croatia:

  • Croatia does allow the import of GMO products, but companies must get government approval first
  • GMO crops are banned
  • Sowing genetically-modified seeds is not permitted, even for experimental purposes
  • 73% of Croatians have a negative opinion about genetically-modified products
  • Meat and dairy products produced from GMO-fed animals can be imported and don’t need to be declared
  • Products that contain, consist of, or are produced from genetically-modified rapeseed, soybean, corn, and cotton can be sold on the Croatian market
  • Croatian Ministry of Health’s inspections showed that 10-20% of food contains GMO

Croatia’s agreement with the World Trade Organization prevents the state from banning the import of GMO products. The silver lining is that genetically-modified food must be clearly marked so that people know what they are buying.

How to avoid GMO in Croatia

GMO products are almost impossible to find in stores in the EU due to the high resistance of consumers to GMO food.

In Croatia, any product that is GMO will have a product code that starts with 8. For example, a GMO banana would be coded 84.011, but a non-GMO banana would be coded 94.011.

There are a plethora of health food stores across Croatia where you can find organic and natural foods. You can find them in our guide available here. For non-GMO poultry, head over to Purex, which has locations across the country.

When shopping at the market, buy local, in-season produce from small farmers. If the produce was grown in Croatia, then it is guaranteed that it is non-GMO.

[Read: A local’s guide to buying food at Croatia’s farmer’s market]

Croatia has many farms and food suppliers that deliver fresh products grown on farms to your home. They produce delicious cheese, fruits, vegetables, meat, olive oil, honey, and many other tasty products. When you buy local products, you support small Croatian businesses and reduce the pollution caused by importing food.

Here is a list of farms and food suppliers in Croatia that will deliver to your home.

View our other food articles

What is a GMO? by
Genetically modified food: What are the pros and cons? by MedicalNewsToday
Što zapravo donosi novi zakon o kojem svi pričaju i ima li mjesta panici? by Bojana Mrvoš Pavić

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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