Pate pooper: Putin calls for destruction of smuggled Western produce
From French cheeses to Spanish hams, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday called for the destruction of Western produce being smuggled into the country in breach of an official embargo.
Moscow last year banned a slew of food products from the West in retaliation for biting economics sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.
The embargo has seen truckloads of delicacies, from cheese to pate, stopped at the border and allegations swirl that products are being relabelled in neighbouring ex-Soviet countries and imported illegally.
Up until now any smuggled produce being caught has been turned around and sent back.
But Agriculture minister Alexander Tkachev proposed at a government meeting on Friday that legislation be revised to allow customs officers to destroy the products instead.
"Let's agree with the minister's proposal," Putin said, according to a transcript of the meeting published by the Kremlin. "I ask that the administration and the government look into the issue along with lawyers and propose the appropriate decisions."
It remains unclear when the proposal could be reviewed by lawmakers.
In spite of the embargo, Russians have been allowed to bring small quantities of banned products into the country for personal consumption.
Seizure of illegal goods have become common at Russian border crossings since the embargo came into force.
Earlier this week, Russian custom officials said they had foiled an attempt to smuggle nearly half a tonne of European cheese into the country.
© 2015 AFP