Russia lifts ban on Czech and Greek vegetables: official

11th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia on Monday permitted vegetable imports from the Czech Republic and Greece, making a total of six countries exempt from a ban on European Union imports it imposed over a deadly E. coli outbreak.

"From July 11, the import of vegetables to Russia from the Czech Republic and Greece is permitted, based on certificates guaranteeing their safety," the state consumer watchdog said in a statement.

Moscow imposed a blanket ban on European Union vegetable imports on June 2 after an oubreak of E. coli in Germany that has now killed 50 people, a move that the EU condemned as disproportionate and without scientific basis.

At a summit on June 10, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and the European Commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso, agreed to lift the ban, with the EU promising to send new certificates of the vegetable safety.

But Moscow failed to lift the ban, saying it required more guarantees.

At the end of June, Russia finally permitted imports from the Netherlands and Belgium, later adding Spain and Denmark in early July.

The state consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said in its statement that it was examining information sent by the EU about eight other countries' measures to check vegetables for E. coli.

The EU imports 1.1 million tonnes of vegetables, worth 600 million euros ($847,698) to Russia every year, according to the European Commission.

© 2011 AFP

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