Russia combats fruit and vegetable smuggling



Russia has uncovered attempts to import “contraband” apples and tomatoes from the European Union through Belarus.

The Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance has uncovered attempts to re-export through Belarus European fruits and vegetable that have been prohibited because of Russian sanctions. Agency head Sergey Dankvert  described the scheme to (Russian news agency) ITAR-TASS,  reports Espreso TV, August 18.

“Certain countries of the European Union have started to send products to Belarus without specifying the real country of origin. For example, they write Macedonia, and we find out that it’s really Poland and Greece since there is no confirmation of the Macedonian origin,” Dankvert pointed out.

According to Dankvert, the food surveillance agency for several days has recorded deliveries to Russia via Belarus of shipments of apples, peaches, plums, and tomatoes with no indication of the country of origin or with false labels that they originated in the “allowed” countries, such as Turkey, Serbia, Macedonia, and a number of African countries, including Zimbabwe. However, these shipments did not have the phytosanitary documents  of the countries of origin and this raised suspicion among the Russian inspectors. During inspection, it was discovered that these fruits and vegetables originated in Poland, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Lithuania and a few other EU countries. Additionally, a number of the shipments did not have Belarusian phytosanitary permits, he said.

“We are actively monitoring the situation and we will promptly verify the origin of suspicious shipments to prevent deliveries from the (sanctioned) countries,” Dankvert concluded.

Translation: Anna Mostovych

Source: Espreso TV

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