YEREVAN, September 20. /ARKA/. Some shady dealers have provoked Russia into banning imports of Armenian fish products, Arthur Atoyan, head of the Association of Armenian Fisheries, was quoted by Novosti – Armenia News Agency as saying at a news conference on Thursday.
Rosselkhoznadzor, the Federal Service for the Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance, explained the temporary ban imposed on Wednesday by coliform bacteria which were found in fish products imported in Russia from Armenia and Iceland.
Reacting to this step, the Association of Armenian Fisheries sent a letter to Armenia’s agriculture ministry asking the ministry’s Food Safety Service to make an independent probe.
Rosselkhoznadzor found coliform bacteria in fish products of four Armenian companies Akvatehavtomatka, Unifish, Dimitri and Gos of 22 fisheries.
“We have sent a group of experts to Moscow to explore market there and identify the source of this problem,” he said.
The experts have found out that some shady dealers, unhappy about growing popularity of Armenian fish products in Russia prompted Russian authorities to slap a temporary ban on Armenian fish imports.
Atoyan said that Armenia’s key competitors in Russian fish market are Turkey and Norway, but “we don’t want to accuse them so far”.
He said that Armenian experts have also learned in Moscow that some Russian organizations who have licenses for selling Armenian fishes sold other fishes under Armenian brands.
“We have warned the fish trader that if such things happen again, we’ll sue it, and the organization has apologized,” he added.
Atoyan found Russia’s ban groundless, since there can’t be coliform bacteria in Armenian fish products – every economic entity is inspected by Armenian food safety authorities once a month.
“Besides, every fish that is brought out of the area where it is produced undergoes examination by the food safety agency and must be provided with certificates confirming this product’s safety,” he said.
In addition, the Association of Armenian Fisheries is regularly conducts its own inspections.
Atoyan said that after Russia imposed the ban the Association carried out an additional scrutiny and found nothing contradicting food safety rules.
“We have also sent our products to Russia for laboratory examination,” he said. “If our request receives no proper response, we’ll appeal to independent international experts, since we are convinced that we produce biologically pure products.”
Atoyan also said that Armenian fisheries’ products are exported to Europe without any problem despite of more than 50 requirements to fish products there, while Russia, with its 10 to 12 requirements, creates problems. -0-