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Russian watchdog lifts import restrictions from Lithuanian dairy manufacturer

January 20, 2014, 18:47 UTC+3 MOSCOW
A series of inspections by Russia's consumer rights watchdog officials preceded lifting of the ban
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© ITAR-TASS/Vadim Rymakov

MOSCOW, January 20. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Federal Consumer Rights Protection and Human Health Control Service, Rospotrebnadzor, has lifted import restrictions from dairy products manufacturer Rokiskio suris. The agency announced its decision earlier on Monday.

A series of inspections by Rospotrebnadzor officials preceded lifting of the ban. The specialists examined the company’s documents on measures taken to ensure the compliance of dairy product imports with Russian quality and safety requirements alongside guarantees of their observance, a spokesman said, adding that decisions regarding other Lithuanian dairy producers would be taken as soon as all the materials submitted were examined.

Russia imposed a ban on the import of Lithuanian dairy products starting from October 7, 2013, over 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, Lithuania asked Rospotrebnadzor to hold negotiations on the issue.

Starting from January 9, the agency removed its restrictions imposed on dairy product imports from Lithuania’s company Pieno Zvaigzdes. Both Rokiskio suris and Pieno Zvaigzdes are among Lithunia’s top five dairy producers.

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% of all products leaving the country. In 2012, the country exported to Russia 370,000 tons of dairy products $193 million worth. According to the national dairy producers union Soyuzmoloko, Lithuanian exports to Russia are mostly cheese, at 39,400 tons worth $181 million in 2012, 1,550 tons of yoghurts worth nearly $4 million, and 267 tons of butter valued at $1.3 million.

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