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Russia starts destroying sanctioned foodstuffs in incinerators, at dump sites

August 06, 2015, 14:03 UTC+3 MOSCOW

According to customs data, a total of 16.8 tons of food has been seized by the regional customs service since Russia imposed a ban on food imports from EU countries

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© ITAR-TASS/Yelena Nagornykh

MOSCOW, August 6. /TASS/. Russia has started destroying sanctioned products as part of the presidential decree that came into force on Thursday.

The document stipulates the physical destruction of agrarian raw materials and foodstuffs brought from the countries that have supported anti-Russian economic sanctions. The entire process of sanctioned products destruction is expected to be concentrated in the westernmost Kaliningrad Region, in the Urals and in west Russia.

Dump sites and incinerators will be used to destroy sanctioned food in Russia.

According to customs data, a total of 16.8 tons of food has been seized by the regional customs service since Russia imposed a ban on food imports from EU countries. The foodstuffs largely include meat and cheeses from Poland. Russia has also opened 562 administrative cases against private individuals illegally bringing sanctioned food into the country. Another 68.8 tons of sanctioned food have been returned to the sender countries. Russia’s new rules do not envisage the return of sanctioned products.

Apart from special sites, the regional department of the Russian agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor plans to involve incinerators available to it for destroying the sanctioned food. These incinerators are installed at 13 automobile and 4 sea-based checkpoints and one checkpoint based at an airport.

Rosselkhoznadzor banned the importation of over 30 tons of foreign products into the Kaliningrad Region in the first half of 2015. Now the Kaliningrad Region will use three licensed state solid waste sites located in the region’s different districts for sanctioned food destruction.

"The sites are located near the communities of Zhavoronkovo, Barsukovka and Kruglovo," the regional government told TASS on Thursday.

"The destruction method will be determined depending on the category of goods. The procedure will be recorded by photos and video materials and will take place in the presence of no less than two uninterested persons," the regional customs house said.

The Russian agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor has agreed a procedure with the Federal Customs Service to destroy sanctioned cheese in Orenburg in the south Urals, Rosselkhoznadzor spokeswoman Yulia Melano said on Thursday.

The foodstuffs covered by Russia’s embargo and illegally brought into the country will also be destroyed in Smolensk and Belgorod in west Russia, the spokeswoman said.

"The Orenburg customs house has given its approval. We expect the destruction of products to start at 5-6 hours local time [15:00-16:00 Moscow time]," she said.

A total of 20 tons of cheese are slated for destruction, she added.

"The cheese is called Russian but has Latvian labels. At the same time, the products were delivered from Kazakhstan while the driver was a German national," the Rosselkhoznadzor spokeswoman said.

The cheese will be destroyed with the help of special machinery at a special site, she said.

"The site has all the necessary permits for this," she added.

Also, Rosselkhoznadzor plans to destroy two vanloads of tomatoes and three truckloads of peaches and nectarines in Smolensk on Thursday. In Belgorod, special machines will be used to destroy 7 tons of cheese that was brought from the territory of Ukraine, Melano said.

The issue of banned food destruction in St. Petersburg has not yet been decided, she said.

The Russian government earlier issued orders to the Federal Customs Service, agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor and consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor to destroy all products on the sanction list the moment they enter Russian territory. Under the government resolution, the destruction of banned products is to begin as of today.

Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachyov came out with a proposal for taking measures to destroy on site the goods featuring on the sanction list at the president’s meeting with government ministers on July 24. President Vladimir Putin supported the idea.

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