The EU and Russia are set to ink a deal that would make consultation between the groups mandatory in the future, should either side be planning to impose health-based import restrictions on the other's food exports.

This is the essence of an agreement expected to be initialled by EU ministers and Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, at a meeting in Luxembourg in mid-April.

The aim is to allow food health specialists to resolve problems and thwart possible bans, such as that currently imposed by Russia on Polish meat exports. At the very least, it would give food manufacturers advance warning of a possible ban, EU officials have said.