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Russia consumer rights watchdog grants several Georgian companies access to Russian market

September 23, 2013, 12:24 UTC+3

U.S. naval microbiological laboratory concerns Russian health officials

1 pages in this article
Photo ITAR-TASS/ Zurab Dzhavakhadze

Photo ITAR-TASS/ Zurab Dzhavakhadze

MOSCOW, September 23 (Itar-Tass) - Russia’s Federal Service for Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor) has allowed only part of Georgian companies access to the Russian market, head of the service, Russian chief state sanitary doctor Gennady Onishchenko told Itar-Tass regarding results of last week’s inspection of Georgia’s plants producing alcoholic beverages and bottled water. “In general, the inspection results are satisfactory, although not all manufacturers will be admitted to the Russian market in connection with identified shortcomings. We will publish the list of these manufacturers September 23,” Onishchenko said.

He also stressed that the work to control deliveries from Georgia is currently getting at a fundamentally different stage. The registration of Georgian enterprises’ products and their control in the turnover on the Russian market will be now launched.

However, the Russian consumer rights watchdog still has certain doubt concerning the Georgian products. “The operation of a U.S. naval microbiological laboratory, the goals and objectives of which are not clear, on Georgia’s territory, is a serious obstacle in the way of building confidence towards Georgia as a partner,” Onishchenko concluded.

The head of the Russian consumer rights watchdog has repeatedly mentioned the risks of the work of this laboratory, in particular, the possible link of its work with the spread of the African swine fever (ASF) virus. The disease that is threatens the pig breeding had penetrated into Russia from Georgia in 2007.

In spring 2006, Rospotrebnadzor banned the import to Russia of Georgian wines and the Borjomi mineral water because of the products’ low quality.

In the spring of 2013, the embargo was lifted. In May and July 2013, Georgia supplied to Russia 963 batches of alcoholic beverages totalling nearly 3.5 million litres, as well as 79 batches of mineral water, totalling more than 4.8 million litres, of which 73 batches of Borjomi with the volume of 4.75 million litres.

Rospotrebnadzor experts have conducted three inspections of Georgian enterprises since the resumption of the deliveries.

During the latest inspection (16-20 September, 2013), the Russian experts visited, according to the Georgian National Wine Agency of the Ministry of Agriculture, production enterprises, located in Adzharia, Batumi, Racha, Shida Kartli and Kakheti. In total, according to the Georgian side, about 30 companies, including 20 wineries, five producers of mineral water, as well as two beer companies - Natakhtari and Zedazeni, have been inspected.

Meanwhile, the Rospotrebnadzor head had earlier expressed concern over the low activity of Georgian suppliers. Thus, from 36 alcoholic beverages companies and four mineral water producers that had announced the plans to come to the Russian market and that got the needed permission, only 14 wineries and two mineral water producers have so far started the supplies. In total, by July 2013, a total of 65 alcohol producers and 4 mineral water producers were allowed to start the supplies. However, before the start of the third inspection, Rospotrebnadzor has received materials from 34 more Georgian enterprises, including 28 wineries, one beer producer and 5 mineral water producers.

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