EU: Russian Ban On European Vegetable Imports Over E. Coli Scare Is ‘ Disproportionate’

The European Commission has criticized as “disproportionate” Russia’s decision to ban fresh vegetable imports from EU countries over a deadly bacteria scare.

European Commission spokesman Frederic Vincent said the EU health commissioner, John Dalli,  will be writing to Moscow “within hours” to lodge a protest.

One June 2, Russia banned the importing of fresh vegetables from all EU countries following a deadly outbreak of the E-coli bacteria.

Gennady Onishchenko, the head of Russia’s consumer protection agency Rospotrebnadzor, criticized the effectiveness of European health legislation and accused the EU of hypocrisy for repeatedly suggesting that Russia adopt the union’s health standards.

Onishchenko added that vegetables already shipped in from the European Union would “be seized across Russia.

European food investigators are still trying to determine the source of the bacterial outbreak that has been blamed for the death of 16 people and has made more than 1,000 others ill, mainly in Germany.

The European Union exported 594 million euros ($853 million) worth of vegetables to Russia in 2010, according to EU figures. It was not clear what proportion of that total comprised fresh vegetables.

compiled from agency reports

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