Russian Farming Community Demands That the Government Take Full Control over Imported Vegetables
As the Kommersant newspaper reports, expecting peak season for imported vegetables to Russia, domestic producers ask vice-premier Arkady Dvorkovich to conduct thorough examination of imported goods straight at the border and within trading networks.
Peak season for imported vegetables starts in November, the yearly supply of which accounts for 70% of the total volume consumed around the country in winter and autumn period. Vegetable Producers’ Alliance addressed a letter to vice-premier Arkady Dvorkovich, who has responsibility for agriculture, asking to entrust the Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor), the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselhoznadzor) and the Federal Customs Service with intensified control over imported vegetables.
The authors of the letter are convinced that after conducting thorough examinations required by the Alliance the supervising authorities will discover that up to 20% of imported tomatoes, cucumbers and other vegetables have excess level of agricultural chemical residues and pesticides.
Major suppliers of cucumbers, tomatoes and other vegetables to Russia are China, Turkey, Morocco and Iran. Last year aggregate imports amounted to 778 thousand tons tomatoes and 203 thousand tons cucumbers. However, the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance examines at the border less than 10% of such products for presence of agricultural chemical residues and pesticides.
According to official data of the Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor), during a 9-month period in 2015 only 1.4% out of 63 thousand tests for agricultural chemical residues and pesticides in vegetables and fruit (with 11 thousand tests falling to imported goods) didn’t meet the requirements. However, Rospotrebnadzor examines retail product groups rather than certain products. When this inconsistency with the regulations is discovered, Rospotrebnadzor addresses to the producer, in case with the imported goods – to the importer prohibiting import of certain goods from certain countries or certain producers, states the Federal Service.