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© RIA Novosti. Ruslan Krivobok

Russia-Ukraine cheese spat heats up

by at 02/02/2012 18:50

 

Harsh words between Russia and Ukraine are threatening to spill over into a full-fledged cheese war as Russia’s chief sanitary doctor, Gennady Onishchenko, has given what he says is his final warning for Ukraine’s cheese.

The upcoming checks, which we are preparing to conduct in Russia, will lead from warnings to actions an import ban or withdrawing of products from the market,” Interfax quoted Onishchenko as saying on Thursday. Onishchenko said that palm oil was continuing to be found in Ukrainian cheeses sold in Russia, although this ingredient was not listed as one of the ingredients. “If the situation not be fixed it will give us the right to withdraw it from circulation, seize it.”

Price spike

Ukraine’s prime minister waded into the cheese dispute, defending his nation’s dairy products, and warned of dire consequences for Russia’s cheese eaters if their access to Ukraine’s supply was cut.

Our cheeses are of good quality and cost less. This means that Russian citizens will be forced to buy the more expensive Polish cheeses or face the fact – as often happens when a domestic market is closed off – of rising prices.” He added that he had personally inspected his nation’s cheese facilities and all was in order, “our Russian colleges had no claims. They would need to strive to produce cheese of this quality in Russian factories.”

 

‘Public terrorism’

Ukrainian Partia Regionov Deputy Alexei Plotnikov went further, having earlier described Onishchenko’s previous threats as “public terrorism.”

This is public terrorism, it is a public action. This is not a friendly move, these moves are economically unfounded, and I think that we should use the leverage of the WTO as an organization, which Russia is going into, when it becomes a full member, rather, in May,” Ukrainskaya Pravda quoted Plotnikov as saying earlier last month.

Ukraine’s Milk Producer’s Union chairman Vadim Chagarovsky said Onishchenko’s previous bans over food quality were dubious and this case was no different.

Onishchenko has also made claims as to the quality of Borjomi [mineral water], and so what? The whole world drinks Borjomi, and the import of this product is prohibited only in the Russian Federation,” Interfax quoted Chagarovsky as saying on Thursday.

Borjomi was banned in Russia in 2006 over alleged quality issues after a spy scandal erupted between the two countries

 

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