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Russia to lift import ban on EU vegetables

Russia will end its ban on imports of fresh vegetables from the European Union after the deadly outbreak of E coli, president Dmitry Medvedev said after talks with his EU counterparts.

The two sides agreed the ban would be lifted "without delay" and as soon as they put in place a certification system, European Commission president Jose Barroso told reporters in the Volga River city of Nizhny Novgorod.

Russia suspended imports of German and Spanish tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers on May 30 after the E coli outbreak led to the deaths of at least 27 people. The ban was extended to all fresh vegetables from the EU on June 2. Agriculture minister Yelena Skrynnik said the June 8 ban would remain in force until the EU gave complete information about the outbreak's origin.

As much as 80pc of vegetables are being destroyed in some areas because there is no market for them, Copa-Cogeca, a farm lobby group based in Brussels, said this week.

EU food producers are losing as much as €400m a week from the drop in demand, it said. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent