Up to 20 tonnes of Latvian-made cheese destroyed in Russia

  • 2015-08-06

Up as 20 tons of Latvian-made cheese smuggled into Russia, will now be destroyed in the Russian city of Orenburg.

Yulia Melano, a spokeswoman for the Russian veterinary and phytosanitary control authority, Rosselkhoznadzor, told Russian news agency Interfax the Latvian-made cheese had been smuggled into Russia from Kazakhstan in a car with Kazakhstani number plates.

She said the cheese would be mechanically destroyed, with its remains buried in a landfill site.

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently signed a decree, which states imported foodstuffs covered by Russia’s embargo imposed as a countermeasure to Western sanctions against Moscow over its role in Eastern Ukraine, would be destroyed.

The controversial move has prompted criticism from politicians and activists and a rare outcry from legions of ordinary Russians, who say the produce could feed the country's poorest.

On August 5, more than 208,000 people signed an online petition on website Change.org calling for the foods to be given away to those in need.

"Why should we destroy food that could feed veterans, pensioners, the disabled, those with large families or those who have suffered from natural disasters?" asked the petition addressed to Putin and the government.

Previously discovered smuggled goods into Russia had been sent back to their country of origin.

It is still not clear by which means Rosselkhoznadzor intends to destroy the cheese.

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