Russia, EU Sign Deal to End Vegetable Ban

Posted June 22nd, 2011 at 1:30 pm (UTC-5)
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The European Union and Russia have signed an agreement on conditions for lifting a ban on EU vegetable imports.

Moscow imposed the ban earlier this month after an outbreak of E. coli killed at least 39 people and infected around 3,000 others. The outbreak was traced to a farm in northern Germany.

But Russia said Wednesday it will only resume imports after Brussels provides Moscow with a list of official bodies and laboratories authorized to issue food safety certificates.

Russia also insists all European vegetables exported to Russia must be accompanied by certificates stating the origin of the product and an assurance that it does not carry the E. coli bacteria strain.

The head of Russia's state consumer protection agency said the deal reached Wednesday does not imply “everything will immediately return to the Russian market.”

Last year, the EU exported vegetables to Russia worth more than $860 million.

E. coli symptoms include stomach cramps, diarrhea, fever, vomiting, and in extreme cases kidney failure and death.