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Brussels, 24 June 2010

Obstacles to trade of fruit and vegetables removed after Russia harmonises levels of pesticide residues

Important obstacles to the trade of fruit and vegetables between the European Union and Russia have been removed, after Moscow aligned some of its maximum levels for pesticide residues (MRLs) with the EU and international standards. The development provides more favourable conditions for EU exporters of vegetables and fruit, such as apples and pears, grapes, citrus fruits and stone fruits (peaches, apricots, etc.).

Following specific EU requests, supported by scientific evidence, the Russian Federation amended its MRLs concerning fruit and vegetables. The amended Russian law entered into force in early June.

Prior to the alignment, some of the Russian MRLs for fruit and vegetables were excessively strict, while unnecessary restrictive measures were imposed on EU exports of these products. However, the EU and Russian Federation scientific bodies have now reached a common understanding concerning the necessary safety levels of pesticide residues for fruit and vegetables.

The alignment is expected to improve conditions for trade of fruit and vegetables between the EU and the Russian Federation. In 2009, the value of trade of these products was € 2.3 billion euros. The figure mainly concerns exports from the EU to the Russian Federation.

The dialogue on harmonisation of Russian norms with EU and international food safety standards will continue, as the Union has submitted a number of other requests for alignment. These requests concern, for example, residues in veterinary medicinal products in the areas of meat and dairy products, but also certain standards in the areas of plant health, veterinary inspection, contaminants, microbiological standards in foodstuffs, etc.

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