More reports on: Foods / beverages

Russia destroys banned food imports from west

08 August 2015

The Russian government incinerated tonnes of pork, bulldozed thousands of cans of cheese into the ground, and interred truck loads of apples in a shallow grave as it stepped-up fight against sanctioned foodstuffs.

But the action has left many Russians wondering why so much food was being destroyed in a country where millions of people lived below the poverty line.

Moscow has for the last one year engaged in reciprocal action against countries that had imposed sanctions on it over Ukraine, but the new law requiring destruction of contraband shipments at the border came into force on Thursday.

Import of fruit, vegetables, meat and cheeses from the EU and other countries that instituted sanctions against Russia are banned in the country.

According to Moscow, importers had tried to get round the ban by putting fake labels on produce, claiming it was made in Brazil, Belarus or another sanction-free country.

According to newspaper RBK, on the first day, over 300 tonnes of food was destroyed.

According to news from across the country, suspect food shipments were seized at the border and at wholesale markets: 650kg of Polish apples were destroyed in Novosibirsk, Siberia; nine tonnes of carrots destroyed outside Moscow; and a consignment of Irish pork seized at a warehouse in the town of Reutovo.

The move has drawn protests in Russia, and people signed a petition urging the government to instead donate the food to the poor suffering through the country's vicious recession.

Coupled with the sharp depreciation of the rouble, the ban on western food had helped drive consumer prices up and had pushed an increasing number of Russians below the poverty line.

The government, however, remained determined to stem the flow of banned products by raising the costs for those involved in contraband, had ignored the public outcry.

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