Russia partially lifts ban on vegetable imports

June 28th, 2011 - 10:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, June 28 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia has lifted its ban on vegetable imports from two European countries - the Netherlands and Belgium - that was imposed earlier this month, the food safety watchdog said Tuesday.

“After an expert examination, we have today allowed imports from the Netherlands and Belgium so far,” said Gennady Onishchenko, chief of Rosselkhoznadzor.

Russia introduced the ban June 2 after the E.coli outbreak. The bacteria - traced to Germany’s Lower Saxony region - has led to the death of at least 40 people in Europe.

Russia said it will lift the ban after the source of infection is identified and the EU takes measures to prevent the supply of infected vegetables.

The Netherlands makes up a considerable share of Russia’s vegetable imports, with produce accounting for 30 percent in EU vegetable imports into Russia.

The food safety watchdog has also received requests for cancellation of the import ban from Poland, Lithuania, Spain, Denmark and the Czech Republic.

“We do not trust Poland as it has a poor credit history and was involved in re-export schemes on many occasions,” Onishchenko said.

If Germany sends a request, Russia will not rush to open the market for German vegetable imports as the country has registered the largest number of E.coli cases, he said.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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