26 Feb 2018 18:43

Russia postpones ban on Belarusian milk, cream imports until March 6

MOSCOW. Feb 26 (Interfax) - The Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) has postponed a ban on dairy product imports from Belarus until 6:00 p.m. on March 6, the watchdog said.

The ban was originally due to come into effect on February 26.

Rosselkhoznadzor said on Friday that it was banning imports of pasteurized, sterilized and ultra-pasteurized milk and cream as a liquid, dried, concentrated and preserved as well as condensed milk and cream, liquid milk, concentrated and powered whey and milk protein from Belarus.

Consignments of these products delivered to temporary veterinary control posts along on the Russian-Belarusian border after 6:00 p.m. on March 6 will be returned to Belarus, Rosselkhoznadzor said on Monday.

Rosselkhoznadzor decided to ban the products "in connection with repeated discoveries of violations of veterinary and sanitary requirements of the Eurasian Economic Union and Russian Federation."

The Russian watchdog has on several occasions recently expressed its concern about the discovery of hazardous substances in dairy products supplied from Belarus.

Rosselkhoznadzor has said that in 2016 milk and dairy products accounted for 386 of the 723 cases of Belarusian enterprises violating the veterinary and sanitary standards and requirements of the EAEU and Russia. Traces of prohibited and hazardous substances were found in ten cases.

In 2017, 596 violations were found, of which milk and dairy products accounted for 376, with traces of prohibited and hazardous substances found in 201 cases.

And the situation has not improved in 2018, the watch down said. As of February 20, 32 violations had been reported in milk and dairy products, included 21 cases where traces of prohibited and hazardous substances were found.

Rosselkhoznadzor has informed Belarus about all violations on a regular basis but those violations have continued.

The Russian National Dairy Producers Union (Soyuzmoloko) has said Belarus accounted for 82% (95,000 tonnes) of dry skim milk supplies to Russia in January-November 2017, 78% (172,400 tonnes) of condensed milk and cream, 92% (269,200 tonnes) of non-condensed milk and cream and 90% (83,100 tonnes) of whey and products from natural milk components.

Belarus shipped 296,200 tonnes of milk and cream to Russia in 2017, up 23.7% from 239,400 tonnes in 2016, however condensed and dry milk and cream exports fell 2.2% to 187,700 tonnes from 191,900 tonnes.