Russian food safety watchdog's fish ban made formal

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Russia’s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Rosselkhoznadzor’s ban on Latvian processed fish products is official and in effect as of June 4, announced the state Food and Veterinary Service (PVD) on its own website Thursday.

The Russian food safety inspectors have set a temporary prohibition on the entire fish processing sector of Latvia, which can be lifted upon “the taking of corrective actions” by the companies involved..

According to the statement released Thursday by the agency, PVD experts and fish processing industry representatives are familiarizing themselves with the documents and the neighboring country’s food safety inspectors’ activities and findings to consider what corrective actions can be taken.

The PVD added that it will call an operative meeting of the Fish Processors’ Association and producers to decide on how to respond.

Meanwhile, Fish Producers Association leader Imants Cīrulis predicted the seasonal summer slow-down, in many cases shut-down, customary for the industry may have to be extended indefinitely at some processing plants. Or some may have to close down operations entirely.

“A large part of the staff are on seasonal vacations and now is the time for maintaining and fixing the equipment. The situation now looks like the suspension in production will be longer-term, but we’ll have to see which companies. Those that rely more on the Russian market – 50 percent or more, could be facing a long shut-down. Or worse yet, a couple of them may never start up again,” Cīrulis told Latvian Radio.

The fish sector representative called “serious” the likely consequences of the anticipated expansion of Russia's food imports embargo against the EU:

“People out of work, companies can’t pay their debts or their taxes,” he said.

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