Midday Express, 27 March 2008
The European Commission and Russia signed today a memorandum that is expected to facilitate dialogue between the two sides when concerns come up about pesticide residues in plant products. The purpose of the memorandum is to create mechanisms and a dialogue with Moscow when Russia identifies at import too high, according to its legislation, levels of residues of pesticides and contaminants in EU plant products for human consumption. The "Memorandum on the safety of plant products for human consumption exported from the European Community (EC) to the Russian Federation concerning pesticide residues, nitrates and nitrites" was initialled at technical level in Moscow on February 28. It was officially signed today in Brussels by Paola Testori Coggi, Deputy Director General of Directorate General for Health and Consumer Protection on behalf of the Commission, and Sergey Dankvert, Head of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Supervision in Russia .
Negotiations have taken place in close consultation with the Member States and the European exporting industry. Within the EU there are harmonised residue levels for pesticides, which have been established on the basis of a scientific risk assessment and in line with the relevant standards of Codex Alimentarius – the international food code. In certain cases, however, Russia has established levels, which are lower than the corresponding EU levels. The Commission has proposed to the Russian authorities responsible for setting the Russian criteria for pesticide residues and contaminants, to have technical discussions on this difference.