Russia bans Bulgarian food imports over false certificates
Russia’s food safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said on September 3 that it banned all imports and re-exports of “products subject to quarantine” from Bulgaria, after it was notified by its Bulgarian counterpart that it found some counterfeit Bulgarian veterinary certificates accompanying goods destined for Russia.
Rosselkhoznadzor said that the temporary ban was to be effective starting on September 1, recalling that a similar decision had been taken in April – but did not clarify if the new ban was building up on the earlier one or simply was a re-iteration of the earlier decision.
Russia banned food imports from EU countries last year in retaliation for European sanctions over Moscow’s role in the Ukrainian crisis. Reports in Russian media have disputed the efficiency of the ban, citing numerous examples when foodstuffs were imported from countries not known for making them – such as mozzarella cheese from Belarus or oranges from Macedonia – the implication being that the ban merely encouraged a lucrative business for intermediaries able to secure veterinary certificates in countries that were not subject to the ban.
In recent weeks, authorities in Russia stepped up their efforts to prevent imports of banned foodstuffs, going as far as to destroy hundreds of tons of food over the past month, sparking protests against the decision.
Additionally, Rosselkhoznadzor’s decisions on import bans have been criticised in the past after the regulator has been used in recent by the Kremlin to put pressure on former Soviet states by banning certain foodstuffs as unsafe, such as Georgian and Moldovan wines.
(Photo: Damian Siwiaszczyk)