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MOSCOW, January 25. /TASS/. Moscow may introduce a ban on supplies of corn from the United States over the systematic Diplodia stalk rot infection, Russia’s agricultural watchdog said on Monday.
The Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) has sent a request to the US side asking it "to exclude supplies to Russia’s territory of the infected American corn."
This comes for phytosanitary reasons and "especially in conditions of import replacement of quarantined goods," the Russian watchdog said in a statement.
"In case the supplies of infected goods continue, Rosselkhoznadzor has the right to consider the issue of introducing temporary restrictions on the supplies of corn from America," the statement says.
The potential damage from the supplies of quarantined goods to Russia reaches some 10 or 15 billion rubles ($128 million-$192 million), the analysis of phytosanitary risks shows, according to the watchdog.
Now the infected corn is only used in Russia for the production of popcorn, it says. Last time, Rosselkhoznadzor voiced complaints on January 22 after inspectors found that a 76-ton batch of corn from the US that arrived in St. Petersburg had been infected by a dangerous disease, Diplodia stalk rot.
An aide to the Russian agricultural watchdog chief, Alexey Alekseyenko, voiced concerns on Monday that the US corn might have been used for genetically modified crops in Russia.
"It is rather possible that the excessive amounts are used to grow genetically modified corn in our fields," Alekseyenko said.
The official commented on the concerns of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) about the amounts of US corn used for the popcorn production and the popcorn consumed by Russia’s citizens.