Russia to monitor vegetable prices after EU imports ban


Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) will monitor vegetable prices to prevent them from skyrocketing after the country banned European Union vegetable imports, FAS head Igor Artemyev said on Thursday.

“We will monitor them very closely so that there are no groundless price hikes,” he told reporters.

Earlier on Thursday, Russia banned the import of fresh vegetables from all European Union countries, which supply it with 20 percent of the products, because of an outbreak of a highly virulent strain of the E. coli bacteria.

The European Commission has received notification from Russia of its ban on the import of fresh vegetables from all European Union countries, European Commission Health Affairs spokesman Frederic Vincent said earlier on Thursday.

The European Commission’s Director-General of the Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection Paola Testori Coggi is expected to demand an explanation for the ban from the Russian authorities, Vincent said.

At least 1,200 people in northern Germany have been affected by an Escherichia coli outbreak, initially suspected to be caused by cucumbers imported from Spain. The European Commission has reported 10 deaths in nine countries, whereas European news agencies place the death toll at 17.

The German authorities admitted on Tuesday that more tests on cucumbers revealed that they did not carry the dangerous bacteria, which became a cause of the deaths.

Spain said it will take legal action for what it said where groundless statements last week by Germany pointing to Spain as the supplier of the tainted cucumbers. Spain is to seek compensation for the country’s fruit and vegetable exporters, who have lost more than 200 million euro ($290 million).

E. coli bacteria are common and live in the intestines of healthy humans and animals, but a few strains can cause severe illness. An E. coli complication, hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), can lead to a stroke, seizures and fatal kidney disorders.

MOSCOW, June 2 (RIA Novosti)


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