Russia to close the loophole for traditional cheeses from the EU

Rospotrebnadzor (Federal Service on Customers’ Rights Protection and Human Well-being Surveillance) offers to tighten the rules for the supply of lactose-free dairy products to Russia from the EU. The supervisory authority suggests that European manufacturers use this provision to import traditional cheeses.

The Federal Accreditation Service has been requested to withdraw declarations of conformity from foreign producers of lactose-free dairy products, since they were obtained “in violation of the established procedure”, Kommersant reports. The reason was provided by a request of Soyuzmoloko, which indicates that traditional cheeses are delivered to Russia under the guise of lactose-free dairy products.

According to Soyuzmoloko, since March of this year France, Italy and other EU countries have dramatically increased the volume of imports of lactose-free dairy products to Russia. In January-February, France supplied 78.4 tons, in March — 304 tons, April — 120.6 tons. Italy: in January-February it supplied 30 tons, 50 tons in March and 49 tons in April.

The organization indicates that such a rapid increase in the imports of cheese from the EU countries, taking into account supplies of Belarusian products, displaces Russian products from the shelves of national retail chains.

So, Perekrestok now has about 60 varieties of lactose-free cheeses (about 16% of all cheese products) from France, Austria, Lithuania, Denmark and Italy. Diksi Group’s spokesperson Yekaterina Kumanina tells that in the cheese assortment of its supermarkets Viktoria lactose-free products account for 5%. A spokesperson of Metro Cash & Carry Oksana Tokareva reports that there are only 20-25 lactose-free items among about 700 cheese products it sells. These are niche types of cheeses (Brie, Camembert, Parmigiano Reggiano), mainly from Italy and France.

Since August 2014, lactose-free products have been imported under declarations of conformity, which do not provide for detailed tests of medical characteristics of these products.

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