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Russia still mulling food import ban: agency

Russia still mulling food import ban: agency
MOSCOW Thu Aug 7, 2014 4:38am EDT

(Reuters) - Russia's food safety watchdog on Thursday said its spokesman's comments on threatened retaliatory bans of food imports from the United States and European Union reflected his personal views, as a list of targeted items had yet to be approved.

News agency RIA Novosti quoted the spokesman, Alexei Alekseenko, as saying all European fruit and vegetables and all produce from the United States would face a ban ordered by President Vladimir Putin to punish countries that imposed sanctions on Russia.

Bans on EU and U.S. goods would be "quite substantial", and would specifically include U.S. poultry, Alekseenko also told Reuters on Wednesday, although he declined to give a full list of banned goods.

But the watchdog, the Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Service (VPSS), "finds it impossible to comment" on Putin's order until the government formally approves the list of products to be banned, the body, known in Russian as Rosselkhoznadzor, said in a statement on Thursday.

"At the same time, a number of comments which appeared in media from an aide of Rosselkhoznadzor head Alexei Alekseenko should be regarded as a personal opinion of this expert and the scientist, and not as an official statement of the service," VPSS said.

The list is expected to be published on Thursday and will include fruit, vegetables and some meat imports, the Russian newspaper Kommersant reported, citing unnamed sources.

It will affect about 10 percent of Russian food imports, or a value of about $4 billion annually, it added.

The list will exclude wine and baby food, the Vedomosti newspaper said, citing a government source. But according to another government source, it would include meat, cheese and dairy products, the newspaper added.

Alekseenko, the usual spokesman of the Russian food safety watchdog, could not be reached for comment on Thursday. When contacted by Reuters, other watchdog officials dealing with the media declined to say whether his information was correct.

(Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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cdeet August 07 2014 at 8:47 AM

The US and the EU should immediately source out or buyers of their products that would normally be bought by the CZAR and end all food sales to Russia! Then never go back to selling Russia food stuffs. Let the CZAR find out where that will place him and his cronies in the opinions of his people.

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laferiabil August 07 2014 at 10:59 AM

Boy this is a really smart move!! Food stuffs are a global enterprise and russia doe's not grow; or have the capability to grow everything it needs! I think Vladimir is just driving another nail in his coffin. The other side of this coin is the russian people are like goats that follow a Judas goat to slaughterOppression is a normal way of life in russia

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bikerdadbmw laferiabil August 07 2014 at 3:04 PM

The Russian people have always admired and cherished strong leaders. Mr. Putin has the highest approval ratings he has ever had, This will be nothing but a rallying point for a beloved leader of the Mother Russia.

The country will be more apt to follow him even into war. A study of the people gives insight into their mindset. He has been given time and again nothing to lead him to believe he will face reprisal from Mr Obama or Europe.

In Russia polls glorify Putin and his actions. Pools in America show most feel the Country is in decline and weak.

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drusus5845 August 07 2014 at 11:29 AM

Geez, Well lets see how well the Rosselkhoznadzor picks out the trichinosis and mad cow diseases. Trichinosis can be treated but not mad cow disease.

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bikerdadbmw August 07 2014 at 2:51 PM

The President in a press conference yesterday stated " The sanctions are intended to cause Mr. Putin to realize he has crossed another countries sovereign border " I for one am still trying to understand why our President would think, for one second,that Mr. Putin didn't know exactly what he was intending to do? Everyone in the world knows what this act is, why doesn't he?

Sanctions have given us Iran on the brink of atomic weapons with no sign of stopping, Why will this time be different?

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