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Agriculture watchdog seizes more smuggled European pork consigned to Russia

January 16, 2015, 21:16 UTC+3 MOSCOW
A 41-ton consignment of smuggled pork was delivered to Russia from Latvia
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© ITAR-TASS/Alexandra Mudrats

MOSCOW, January 16. /TASS/. Russian food standards officers have tapped a new smuggling channel used to supply banned European pork to the country, side-stepping Moscow's embargo on imports from the West, the country's veterinary regulator agency said in a statement on Friday.

Under the scheme, a 41-ton consignment of smuggled pork, which arrived in Latvia, had been loaded onto container ships in Lithuania and sent to an enterprise in Georgia, Russia's veterinary and phytosanitary service Rosselkhoznadzor said.

While calling into the Russian port of Baltiysk, an employee accompanying the shipment, presented certificates of the Chilean veterinary service stating that the cargo had been produced in Chile and intended for transit to Belarus via Russia.

Inspections revealed that no containers had been shipped in Chile and the veterinary certificates had been forged.

The Russian regulator addressed the European Union with a request to check movements of the pork consignment and identify people involved in smuggling and forgery.

Last November, the regulator Rosselkhoznadzor had to address Interpol with a request for information crucial to investigating another large-scale scheme of smuggling foods into Russia, under which about 7,500 tons of pork from the European Union labeled as intended for transit to Kazakhstan had been sold in Russia.

The ban announced in August bars imports of meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables from the United States, the 28-nation European Union, Canada, Australia and Norway for one year in retaliation for sanctions imposed by those nations on Russia over events in Ukraine.

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