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June 16, 2011

RUSSIA: Talks to lift ban on EU fresh produce continue

The European Commission has confirmed that Russia has not yet lifted its ban on fruit and vegetable imports from the EU "in practice" despite President Medvedev agreeing to the move on Friday.

The European Commission has confirmed that Russia has not yet lifted its ban on fruit and vegetable imports from the EU “in practice” despite President Medvedev agreeing to the move on Friday.

A spokesperson for the Commission told just-food today (16 June) that talks between the EU and Moscow will take place today over lifting the ban.

After a trade and political summit between the EU and Russia, the Commission sent over a proposal with certifications to get the ban lifted. Moscow, however, has not yet approved the requests, the spokesperson said.

Russia banned the import of fresh produce from the EU at the beginning of the month following a deadly E. coli outbreak in Germany that has killed 38 people and made thousands ill.

In a release yesterday (15 June), Russia’s food safety authority said that it was “especially concerned” that German and EU authorities had “not yet identified the primary sources of contamination of food” with the E. coli strain.

German authorities have claimed that there is a link between bean sprouts from a farm in the state of Lower Saxony and the E. coli.

However, Russia’s food safety watchdog said that it is monitoring the situation and reserves the right to take “additional measures” to ensure the safety of products imported to the country from the EU.

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