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MOSCOW, June 9 (Itar-Tass) — Specialists of Rospotrebnadzor (the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Protection and Welfare) have checked two Ukrainian cheese factories, which intend to supply its products to Russia.
Experts have not found any serious violations, chief sanitary inspector Gennady Onishchenko told journalists on Saturday.
“Today specialists have returned from the latest two factories. They will come and report us. According to preliminary information, no special violations have been found,” Onishchenko said.
At the same time, he pointed to one more problem: “We are checking factories. But it is necessary to launch mechanisms to allow Ukrainian laboratories to obtain our accreditation. Till now nothing has been done in this aspect”. “More than likely they will walk twice in the same water,” Onishchenko added.
Ukrainian cheese sales were suspended in Russia due to the fact that their quality did not correspond to technical regulations.
In the beginning of February the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Protection and Welfare banned cheese supplies to such enterprises as Prometei Company (Chernigov Region), the Piryatin and Gadyach cheese factories (both Poltava Region) because they did not correspond to Russia’s technical rules and because cheeses contained vegetable oils and fats.
Ukraine believes that Russia’s accusations are groundless. “The quality of our cheese is excellent. Of course, there is no palm oil in them,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov said.
In his view, “sooner or later both parties will reach agreement and remove barriers.”
Experts say Ukraine exports at least 65,000 tonnes of cheese to Russia every year. According to Ukrainian Vice-Prime Minister Valery Khoroshkovsky, after Russia’s consumer rights protection authority laid claims to the quality of Ukrainian-made cheeses, the Ukrainian side sent samples of exported cheeses for laboratory tests. “Not a single case of the presence of vegetable oils has been reported,” he said. In his words, more than 300 samples were taken. These samples were also sent for testing to an independent laboratory in the United States.
“I would like to note that manufacturers of meat and milk products have always been fulfilling the requirements of importer countries. No violations of export terms have been registered in Ukraine, since Russian and Ukraine have identical requirements to the quality of cheese in particular,” he noted. According to Khoroshkovsky, the government is assessing possible losses from Russia’s temporary ban on imports of Ukrainian-made cheeses. Thus, in his words, such losses might amount to at least 426 million U.S. dollars.
Russia’s consumer rights protection authority banned imports and sales of dairy products made by seven Ukrainian companies, namely Prometey, Chernigov region; Piryatinsky cheese dairy and Gadyachsyr, Poltava region; Bashtansky cheese dairy, Nikolayev region; Lozovsky cheese dairy, Kharkov region; Khmelnitsky butter and cheese dairy, Khmelnitsky region; and Belle Shostka Ukraine, Sumy region.
According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food, Ukraine annually exports 500 million U.S. dollar worth of cheese to Russia, and the latter is the largest market for Ukrainian-made cheese.