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Lithuania wants Russia’s agriculture watchdog to inspect its dairy factories

November 22, 2013, 15:18 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Request explained by the lack of any official information about the reasons for the restrictions on Lithuanian dairy product exports to Russia, imposed earlier by Rospotrebnadzor
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© ITAR-TASS/Vladimir Smirnov

MOSCOW, November 22, 14:55 /ITAR-TASS/. Director of Lithuania’s national food and veterinary service Jonas Milus has asked the head of Russia’s veterinary inspection service Rosselkhoznadzor, Sergey Dankvert, to carry out an extraordinary inspection of Lithuanian dairy enterprises interested in supplying products to Russia and other countries of the Customs Union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, a spokesman for Rosselkhoznadzor said on Friday.

Lithuania’s agency explained its request by “the lack of any official information about the reasons for the restrictions on Lithuanian dairy product exports to Russia, imposed earlier by Rospotrebnadzor (Russia’s Federal Consumer Rights Protection and Human Health Control Service)”, a statement says.

Rosselkhoznadzor said the inspection might take place in early 2014.

Russia imposed a ban on the import of Lithuanian dairy products starting from October 7, 2013, due to non-compliance with quality requirements. Rospotrebnadzor said the examination of dairy products from Lithuania exposed numerous violations of consumer protection laws and sanitary regulations, such as microbiological, chemical, and organoleptic parameters. Following the ban, the Lithuanian side requested Rospotrebnadzor to hold negotiations on the issue.

Russia’s consumer rights watchdog has been tightening control over the quality and safety of dairy products imported from Lithuania into Russia since September 2013, when certain samples failed to meet the standards effective inside the Customs Union.

Russia imposed a previous ban on the import of dairy products from some Lithuanian enterprises in 2009. Large batches of the goods supplied - butter, sour cream, curds and milk - contained traces of antibiotics tetracycline and doxycycline.

Russia is one of the key export markets for Lithuanian dairy products and accounts for almost 85 percent of all products leaving the country. In 2012, the country exported to Russia 370,000 tonnes of dairy products worth $193 million. According to the national dairy producers union Soyuzmoloko, Lithuanian exports to Russia are mostly cheese, at 39,400 tonnes worth $181 million in 2012, 1,550 tonnes of yogurts worth nearly $4 million, and 267 tonnes of butter valued at $1.3 million.

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