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Russia bans the import of meat and dairy products from Greece

16 July 2013 / 17:07:12  GRReporter
3454 reads

Victoria Mindova

The Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance in Russia has imposed, as of 15 July this year, temporary restrictions on the import of dairy and meat products manufactured in Greece.

"The decision is the result of the inspection of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance 'Rosselkhoznadzor' whose representatives visited Greece in the middle of June. The Russian inspectors examined 17 enterprises, including dairies, producers of meat and sausages, and salmon breeding ponds", Vassilis Sadborou, a representative of the Association of Greek Aquaculture, told GRReporter.

He explains that after the inspection on 28 June this year, the Russian side had sent the Greek Embassy in Moscow a letter, notifying that it was planning to ban the import of dairy and meat products from Greece as well as of some products from the Greek fish breeding ponds.

The specialist from the food industry stresses that not only does Russia not recognize the quality standards set by the European Union but it also imposes its own criteria on all producers in Europe who want to export their products to Russia. If the producers do not receive a stamp from the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance 'Rosselkhoznadzor', the company cannot export its products to Russia.

The problem, according to Sadborou, is not that the Russians have sanitary requirements that differ from those set by the European Union. The real question is why they have decided to put a veto on the imports of Greek products now.

"The Russian inspectors were here in 2009, they carried out inspections later too and there were no problems with the Greek exports to the country. Nothing has changed in the production process either but now Russia has imposed an embargo", states the specialist. He cannot explain what has caused the change in the course of the Russian sanitary and hygiene services but stresses that the decision is unilateral.

The website of the Russian inspectorate states that there are significant differences between the operating standards of the sanitary inspections of Greece and Russia. The notice on the website of 'Rosselkhoznadzor' from 10 July this year makes it clear that the Russian authorities have found out that the Greek companies which export to Russia are using raw materials from companies which do not have the required licence and therefore, they have put a temporary embargo on all dairy and meat products from Greece.

We sought the Ministry of Rural Development and representatives of the Chamber of Exporters for a comment. We found no one at the Ministry due to the national strike of the largest trade unions in the country ADEDY and GSEE and heard the same excuse from the Chamber of Exporters.

Some of the largest producers in the country such as Creta Farm, FAGE AE, KRI-KRI, Mevgal, Minerva and others are among the companies affected by the ban on the export of Greek dairy and meat products to Russia. We sought the Greek Association of Manufacturers in the food industry to comment on the situation but, as in the case with the other institutions, we did not find an answer.

Only fish merchants from the inspected companies can resume their export activities. "The export of goods to Russia is terminated from the beginning of the inspection to the publication of the report of the Russian inspection. During this period, the only winners are our Turkish competitors who export to Russia the same goods as we do," said Sadborou.

Tags: EconomyMarketsExportsRussiaGreeceDairy products
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