20 Apr 2023 18:44

Czech Republic has no complaints about Ukrainian food quality, no ban on imports - minister

MOSCOW. April 20 (Interfax) - The Czech Republic has no reason to ban imports of farm produce from Ukraine as inspections of grain, meat and eggs from Ukraine have revealed no violations, Ukrainian media reported citing the Czech Agriculture Minister Zdenek Nekula.

Ceske Noviny reported that each sample of food imported into the Czech Republic was analyzed for the presence of more than 400 active material residues. These are mainly tests for the presence of mycotoxins or pesticide residues. In addition, all samples are tested for the presence of heavy metals such as lead or cadmium.

The Czech Agriculture Ministry has said intensive inspections would continue and would also include dairy products.

Nekula also said the Czech Republic was totally self-sufficient in grain and exported a lot of what it produced. Last year, the Czech Republic met its grain needs by 160%.

Poland has banned the import and transit of a number of agricultural products from Ukraine, but later agreed to resume transit in the early hours of April 20-21. Romania has not banned transit, but has significantly expanded the list of Ukrainian goods that cannot be imported, chiefly grains, rapeseed and sunflower seeds, flour, butter, honey and some meat products. Slovakia has banned the import and processing of grain imported from Ukraine due to quality issues.

Hungary has banned the import of 25 Ukrainian products including grains, oil seeds, flour and vegetable oil and now honey and meat. Transit via Hungary is still allowed. Bulgaria has also introduced a temporary ban on the import of Ukrainian farm produce, with the exception of goods in transit.

Talks between officials from the five EU countries and European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis are set to continue in Brussels. It is expected the list of agricultural products that cannot be imported from Ukraine will be expanded and agreed upon.

The Associated Press has said the European Union's decision to exempt agricultural products from Ukraine from duties led to a glut on local markets and lower prices. This is causing discontent among European farmers.

Ukrainian grains and oilseeds enter and remain in unprecedented quantities in EU member states bordering Ukraine. In addition, Ukrainian farmers have begun to export a large amount of poultry meat, eggs and honey to Europe, the Hungarian Agriculture Ministry has said.