Russia lifts vegetable import ban for Greece, Czech Republic
Russia has lifted the ban on vegetable imports from Greece and the Czech Republic that was imposed during an E coli outbreak in Europe, officials said on Monday, DPA reported.
The two countries join the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Spain as European Union nations whose vegetable products may be sold in Russia, in exception to a general ban on EU vegetables since the outbreak in Germany.
Polish vegetables might also be allowed into Russia "very soon," as well, said Russia's chief food safety official, Gennady Onishchenko.
"If we get the laboratory guarantees the vegetables are safe ... we will let them in," Onishchenko was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.
Russia at the beginning of June banned the import of all EU-produced vegetables. At least 47 people have died and more than 4,000 have been infected with the E coli strain in Europe, with hit Germany the hardest hit.
The Kremlin in late June and early July began allowing individual EU nations to bypass the ban, provided each vegetable shipment is accompanied by a guarantee it is E coli free from a state-certified laboratory.
Russia on Wednesday banned a wide range of Egyptian seeds following a European Union report that some of the products might contain E coli bacteria.
EU officials have said the Russian ban is unfair as the E coli outbreak has been controlled. Egyptian officials have decried the EU report and the Kremlin's seed ban as unscientific.