3 Apr 2018 17:21

Rospotrebnadzor to increase oversight of low-cost cheese quality

MOSCOW. April 3 (Interfax) - Russian consumer watchdog Rospotrebnazdor will toughen oversight in large retail chains over cheese and cheese products, first and foremost over those in low price ranges, the agency's press service said on Tuesday following a meeting between Rospotrebnadzor head Anna Popova and board members of the Russian National Dairy Producers Union (Soyuzmoloko).

"In the course of the meeting, the parties discussed the current condition of the dairy industry, including the matter of counteracting the import and sale of 'imitation cheese products' in Russia. Stemming from the discussion, Rospotrebnadzor has tasked its territorial entities with toughening oversight with laboratory support of cheese and cheese products in large retail chains, first and foremost in the lower price range," the agency said in a statement on its website.

Should products be discovered that do not meet statutory requirements, following administrative measures, information on specific producers and brands will be made publicly available on the federal website related to protection of consumer rights - zpp.rospotrebnadzor.ru.

As a result of the meeting, the parties agreed to promptly exchange information on the counterfeiting of dairy products to aid the regulator in taking swift measures in response, the statement said.

High-tech methods of studying dairy products, which are being actively implemented in the agency's work and allow for monitoring products from production to the consumer, were also touched upon during the discussion.

"The vertically integrated system of monitoring and laboratory control that has been implemented in Rospotrebnadzor entities and organizations allows for effective control over the whole chain, from producer to consumer, over the safety and quality of food products in circulation on the consumer market and prompt reaction in all regions of Russia where such products are found," the watchdog said.

According to a list of resolutions drawn up following a working visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Krasnodar Territory on March 12, the head of state has instructed the government to take measures to control the turnover of imitation cheese products in the county.

Sharply increased imports of imitation cheese products into Russia have complicated the situation for domestic producers of milk and dairy products. In many cases, imitation cheese products are relabeled and offered to consumers as cheeses. It is difficult for conscientious cheese producers to compete with these types of products.

According to an estimate by agriculture watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor, 3 million tonnes of milk have gone unproduced and 70 billion rubles in profit have gone uncollected by Russian dairy producers in the past two years due to imports of imitation cheese products.