European farmers seeking to bypass Russian bans with ‘Made in Turkey’ tags
A customer visits a fruit department at a Metro Cash and Carry store in Moscow, Aug. 8. REUTERS PhotoEuropean food producers are reportedly seeking to bypass Moscow’s ban on western food imports by deceiving authorities over the origin of the products with tags claiming the food is produced in countries that are not banned, including Turkey.
“Some EU countries have started sending their products to Belarus without specifying the real country of their origin. They write, for example – Macedonia, but we have found that it is Poland and Greece, as the Macedonian origin was not confirmed,” Russian news agency Itar-Tass quoted Sergei Dankvert, head of Russia’s food safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor, as saying.
Rosselkhoznadzor said it has blocked supplies of some banned agricultural products that sanctioned countries like Poland and Greece tried to re-export through Belarus.
Itar-Tass also reported the watchdog stopped batches of apples, peaches, plums and tomatoes from
being supplied through Belarus that did not name the country of origin or said they were produced in Turkey, Serbia, Macedonia or African countries, in particular Zimbabwe, which are not covered by Russia’s embargo.
As these supplies had no health-check paperwork from the countries of origin, they caused suspicions.
Rosselkhoznadzor conducted an analysis that showed fruit and vegetables had been supplied from Poland, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Lithuania and some other EU countries.
“We are actively monitoring the situation and will be promptly checking the origin of questionable batches,” Dankvert said.
In terms of sanctions, the health certification for the transit of European goods is Belarus’ responsibility, Dankvert explained.
“If we uncover quarantined items, we will impose restrictions on supplies from Belarus,” he added.