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Presidential decree on destroying banned food imports comes into force in Russia

A presidential decree binding to destroy imported food products covered by Russia's embargo imposed as a countermeasure to western sanctions against Moscow over its stance on developments in neighboring Ukraine comes into force in Russia on Thursday, August 6.

The document was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 29, 2015. It envisages the destruction of farming products, cheese and foods imported from countries that had imposed anti-Russian sanctions.

It is expected that first batches of banned food imports will be destroyed in Orenburg and St. Petersburg. "As many as 20 tonnes of cheese might be destroyed in Orenburg, and pork will be destroyed in St. Petersburg," Yulia Melano, a spokeswoman for the Russian veterinary and phytosanitary control authority (Rosselkhoznadzor), told TASS. She said that three trucks of nectarines might be destroyed in another region. She did not specify where exactly.

Meanwhile, back on Wednesday Rosselkhoznadzor was not sure the banned food imports destruction campaign would kick off as scheduled. It said that the Federal Customs Service was not ready for joint work.

The Federal Customs Service was unavailable for comment.

The Russian government has appointed the Federal Customs Service, Rosselkhoznadzor and Rospotrebnadzor (a consumer rights watchdog) responsible for the destruction of banned food imports.

According to Rosselkhoznadzor, vegetables and fruits will be disposed at dumps, whereas meat and milk products will be disposed by burning as products of high biological risks. Small batches of products will be destroyed right at the border and in case of big batches, Rosselkhoznadzor will take a decision in each particular case. Products will be disposed at refuse destruction plants.

Rosselkhoznadzor chief Sergei Dankvert said on Wednesday that the volume of banned food imports into Russia had declined tenfold after the Russian president signed a decree on destroying products covered by Moscow's embargo. "Illegitimate imports have now declined by 10 times. We are in constant contact with the border guards. Today these deliveries to Bryansk, Pskov and Smolensk have declined by 10 times. Kazakhstan has also cut these supplies by 10 times," he said.

"I don't think there will be a large volume (for destruction). I believe there will be hundreds of tons but no more than several hundred tons," the Rosselkhoznadzor head said.

The initiative to take measures for destroying imported foods from Russia's list of sanctioned products was put forward on July 24 by Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachyov at a meeting held by the Russian president with government members.

President Vladimir Putin supported this initiative. It was announced on July 29 that the Russian president had signed a decree on destroying from August 6 the imported foodstuffs covered by Russia's embargo imposed as a countermeasure to western sanctions against Moscow over its stance on developments in neighboring Ukraine.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 06Aug15]

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