Russia bans imports of Turkish zucchini, pumpkins and squash
Russia's food safety watchdog has officially banned imports more Turkish products, but contrary to previous indications lemons and grapefruit were not included in the announcement.
Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) deputy head Yulia Shvabauskene previously told Interfax an expansion of the existing ban would come into place on May 16, including the two citrus fruits as well as squash.
In an announcement yesterday, the agency said due to flower thrips concerns it would prevent the entry of zucchini, pumpkins and squash as of today (May 19).
In a separate announcement yesterday, the watchdog said it intercepted three lots of zucchini infected with flower thrips in the southern Black Sea town of Gelendzhik, and the 70-metric ton (MT) shipment was sent back to Turkey.
The country's ban on a host of other Turkish crops was prompted by political concerns relating to the downing of a Russian fighter plan near the Syrian border last year, but Rosselkhoznadzor insists the latest import suspension and a temporary ban on lettuce are due to concerns over pest incursions.
Irina Koziy, who heads up RK Marketing and Fruitnews.ru, said it was difficult to predict any decisions made by the Russian Government at the moment, as the majority of them were made due to political but not economic reasons.
"For example both China and Iran were named by Rosselkhoznadzor higher on the list of the most problem fresh produce shippers in terms of Phytosanitary contamination in February and March ratings, but all new bans were implemented on the Turkish products," she said.
"I hope that additional bans will not be implemented. We have very limited alternatives to Turkish nuts and dried fruits and almost no alternative to Turkish lemons in the winter season."
Yesterday, Rosselkhoznadzor also announced it had turned back a range of illegal or contaminated produce items from Turkey and the European Union, including tomatoes, apricots, peppers, pears, apples and grapes.