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MOSCOW, October 7 (Itar-Tass) - Russia’s Federal Customs Service (FCS) has received an official message from the consumer rights watchdog banning the import of dairy products from Lithuania and taken prompt action to enforce the measure, FCS spokesman told Itar-Tass on Monday.
“We have received the documents from Rospotrebnadzor (Russia’s Federal Consumer Rights Protection and Human Health Control Service) and forwarded them to the territorial bodies of the FCS,” he said.
The head of Rospotrebnadzor, chief sanitary doctor Gennady Onishchenko told Itar-Tass earlier that Russia had imposed a ban on the import of Lithuanian dairy products starting from October 7, 2013. The documents were signed on October 6.
Rospotrebnadzor said the examination of dairy products from Lithuania exposed numerous violations of consumer protection laws (non-compliance with quality requirements) and sanitary regulations, such as microbiological, chemical, and organoleptic parameters.
The watchdog argues control of the quality and safety of Lithuanian dairy products is too lax and the import of these Lithuanian products to Russia should be restricted.
Rospotrebnadzor has been tightening control over the quality and safety of dairy products imported from Lithuania into Russia since September 2013, when it turned out that some samples failed to meet the standards effective inside the Customs Union.
Last time Russia banned 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 percent of all exports from Lithuania. In 2012 the country exported to Russia 370 thousand tonnes of dairy products 193 million dollars worth. According to the national dairy producers union Soyuzmoloko, Lithuanian exports to Russia include mostly cheese - 39,400 tonnes 181 million dollars worth (in 2012), yoghurts - 1,550 tonnes 3.87 million dollars worth and butter - 267 tonnes 1.3 million dollars worth.
The five biggest dairy factories in Lithuania are Pieno Zvaigzdes (the brand name Svalia), Rokiskio Suris, Zemaitijos Pienas, Vilkyskiu Pienine and Marijampoles Pieno Konservai.