Russia lifts final restrictions on EU fruit and veg imports

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags European union

Russia today lifted import requirements for fresh fruit and vegetables from the European Union imposed in the wake of the E.coli outbreak in May that killed 46 people and sickened almost 4,000.

The cancellation of temporary certification system, which had been in place since the 10 June, was triggered by the news that no new human cases linked to E.coli 0104:H4 had been reported for 10 days. Epidemiological evidence proved that the E.coli infection was over, said Brussels.

The European Commission welcomed the announcement and said it would learn the lessons from the outbreak that was eventually confirmed as being caused by fenugreek sprouts seeds imported from Egypt into Germany.

“The decision implements the political agreement reached between Presidents Barroso and Medvedev on 10 June, elaborated with concrete implementation during my visit to Moscow on 22 June,” said ​Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner John Dalli. That agreement provided, among other things, that the temporary certification system introduced for the imports of fresh EU vegetables would be applied up to 10 days after no new human case linked to E. coli O104 was reported by EU Member States. The last E. coli O104 human case was reported on Wednesday, July 27. “

Import ban

Moscow initially banned the importation of fresh fruit and vegetables from the EU on 2 June following the outbreak in Germany. Tests later verified that various types of sprouts produced in one farm south of Hamburg were responsible for the outbreak.

The Commission slammed the move as “disproportionate​” and hammered out a high-level agreement eight days later to replace the ban with a temporary certification system.

Following a second, less serious E.coli 0104 outbreak in France, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) established a link between the two incidents and the fenugreek seeds from Egypt. The EC then banned the import and sale of fenugreek seeds imported from one Egyptian exporter between 2009 and 2011.

It also said that imports of some types of Egyptian seeds and beans for sprouting are suspended until October 31.

Related topics Food Safety & Quality

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