Russia could block EU fruit imports, US chickens: reports
Russia could soon block some fruit imports from the EU and chickens from the United States, reports said Monday, as Brussels considered slapping tighter sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.
An advisor to the chief of Russia's food and agricultural inspection service Rosselkhoznadzor said oriental fruit moths had been detected in some European imports.
The larvae of the moths feed on the cores and pits of fruit including peaches, apples, pears, plums, cherries, apricots and nectarines.
"Due to that it is likely that their import into Russia will be restricted," Alexei Alexeyenko was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.
He said a decision was likely within days, and could apply to all or selected EU states.
Russia has frequently blocked food imports citing health concerns, sparking accusations from its partners of using trade as a political weapon.
The EU may as soon as Tuesday ratchet up its sanctions on Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis, applying sanctions covering four key areas: access to capital markets, defence, dual-use goods and sensitive technologies, including the energy sector.
Alexeyenko said earlier Monday that Rosselkhoznadzor may soon ban imports of chicken meat from the United States due to salmonella outbreaks.
Russia's consumer watchdog said Friday it is suing American food chain McDonalds for quality violations, which come as the US ups sanctions against Russia over its backing of rebels in Ukraine.
Russia has also recently banned a series of products from Ukraine and Moldova, which signed association agreements with the EU that drop tariff barriers with the bloc.
© 2014 AFP