Russia Tightens EU Food Import Restrictions

Russia is considering bolstering its ban on EU agricultural imports by restricting fruit and vegetable re-exports through European countries, amid alleged ‘numerous cases of document forgery’. 

Last week, Russia’s agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor banned all plant product re-exports from Bulgaria, effective as of April 25, highlighting examples where apple shipments had been intercepted with suspected fake phytosanitary documents from Brazil and Morocco.

According to Russia’s Tass news agency, similar restrictions could be placed on other European countries too.

Rosselkhoznadzor deputy head Julia Shvabauskene was quoted as saying that Bulgaria was just the first step in strengthening the country’s supply controls, and that the organization was ‘considering the possibility of not accepting any European re-export certificates at all’.

“It is not possible to deal with this anymore, as our colleagues do not even want to fight against smuggling,” Shvabauskene was quoted as saying.

Since the former Soviet country implemented its ban on EU agricultural imports last August, suspicions have been mounting that other countries have been re-exporting the region’s produce with fake phytonsanitary certificates.

Rosselkhoznadzor also said on its website it wanted to develop ‘a mechanism for prior notification’ by countries’ agricultural organizations in order to avoid ‘full scale falsification of documents’.