Dairy group Milkiland has called for “dialogue” with Russian authorities after Moscow’s consumer rights agency put an embargo on all non-dairy cheese imports from Poland after examining one of its products.

The Russian agency, Rospotrebnadzor, declared late last month it had found Milkiland's Wesola Krowka imitation cheese product did not meet the country's requirements for dairy products.

Based on this one violation, the blanket ban was issued – with the agency saying it covered processed cheeses for good measure. Hard cheese exports from Poland to Russia have already been blocked since August, when Russia issued a EU-wide embargo on a wide range of food products but the position of non-dairy and processed cheeses is not clear and some exports have continued.

Milkiland said the latest Russian action was unjustified as its product is not a dairy product: "Thus, technical requirements of [Russian regulations on dairy products] are not applicable to imitation cheese," the company said.

Milkiland has only been exporting Wesola Krowka from its Poland-based Ostrowia plant since January, saying the product has been properly registered in Russia as an imitation cheese. "We believe this Rospotrebnadzor decision has been caused by mal-communication," said Milkiland CEO Anatoly Yurkevych. "The company has applied to the Russian authorities to establish a dialogue, define the violations and develop an action plan to address them."

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