Russia to Lift Ban on EU Produce, Bans Meat

Posted June 22nd, 2011 at 3:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Russia says it will ban some German meat and dairy imports, citing concern about E. coli, even as the European Union and Russia struck a deal on conditions for lifting a ban on EU vegetables.

Russian regulators said Wednesday the ban on meat and milk products from about 300 German companies is being implemented because E. coli-type bacteria was found in meats exported to Russia and in German meat-processing plants.

Moscow imposed the ban on vegetables earlier this month after an outbreak of E. coli killed 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 vegetable 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.