Safety certificates sought
Farmers do not provide data on the use of pesticides Rice contaminated with banned pesticide seized in mid-February
MOSCOW: Russia may ban rice imports from India because of a risk of pesticide contamination unless India complies with stricter food safety demands.
Russia's Federal Agency of Veterinary and Phytosanitary Control, Rosselkhoznadzor, has asked India to provide safety certificates for each shipment of rice containing information on pesticides used for growing and storing rice and indicating dosages and dates of treatment.
Data on pesticides not provided
During a visit to India earlier this month, a team of Rosselkhoznadzor experts found that ``farmers do not provide data on the use of pesticides when they take the rice they grow for processing,'' the Russian watchdog said in a press release posted on its website.
``If the Indian side fails to comply with this requirement, Rosselkhoznadzor will impose restrictive measures (up to a complete ban on rice imports from India) from May 1, until measures are taken to guarantee the compliance of rice exported to Russia with Russian food safety standards,'' the press release said.
Until the May 1 deadline, Rosselkhoznadzor said it would accept rice safety certificates issued by the Shriram Institute for Industrial Research.
In mid-February, Rosselkhoznadzor seized several batches of Indian rice, which allegedly contained a banned pesticide, oil product contaminants and high levels of an insecticide.
According to Indian estimates, rice exports to Russia stood at Rs. 28.77 crore during 2005-06 and Rs. 9.68 crore during the first quarter of the current fiscal.