"On the model of the EU states, the veterinary service of Ukraine will be able to fully control food quality and safety from fertilizing, feeding animals, monitoring pesticide residues and veterinary drugs in animal products to processing animal and vegetable goods, supplies to consumers, controlling logistics chains and sales on the whole territory of the country," the press service said citing Bisiuk.
He noted that the reform of the food industry foresees "the creation of a single authorized body on the basis of the State Veterinary and Biosecurity Service."
"However, this does not mean that from now on only veterinarians should control herbal products or dietary and baby food. Specialists from other structures will be transferred to the state service with this purpose," Bisiuk explained.
Commenting on the decision, Russia’s chief public health official Gennady Onishchenko told reporters a new reform plan to transfer control over food production to the country’s veterinary service “de facto contains the identification of Ukrainians as animals,” and called for a ban on food imports from Ukraine. He also did not rule out the border closure.
"We will follow closely the import of all agrarian products, first of all diary, from Ukraine, and will take the strictest measures with the least reduction of quality," Onishchenko said.
Ukraine does not agree. The authorities in Kiev argue the move will make the country’s consumer protection service “more European.”
“Why doesn’t he like the European experience of control we’re bringing in?” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Hryshchenko wrote on his Twitter account. “Onishchenko had better publicly apologize for his words.”
ForUm asked politicians and experts whether the quality of Ukrainian production is that bad or whether this is a regular, this time 'agrarian' war, declared by Russia.
Oleksandr Yefremov, head of the Party of Regions faction:
- Russia’s public health service made this statement not about Ukrainian production, but about introduction of new standards of control over it.
If Ukraine adopts new standards, we will have to revise export of our productions to Russia. According to the draft bill, the functions performed by the sanitary and epidemiologic service will be transferred to the veterinary service. I must say it is a European norm, existing in many European countries.
However, certain disagreements on this draft bill exist even within our faction. We will discuss whether to adopt it or not.
As for the statement, I think that state leaders must be more correct in their statements regarding other states. On the other hand, we should not ignore such statements, but to analyze and take into account. There is no need to work up a boom around this issue.
Tetyana Bahteyeva, head of the parliamentary committee on healthcare:
- First of all, the decision has not been made yet. Both Health Ministry and relevant committee in the parliament have requested the Cabinet not to adopt it.
Making the decision Ukraine took into account the experience of Denmark. But the population of Denmark is one and something million people, while the population of cows is five million. For Denmark the veterinary service is a mater of prestige, while in our country the control over food quality was traditionally carried out by sanitary service. It has professionals and standards.
As for the statement by Onishchenko, I believe it was very harsh and incorrect for someone like a chief of public health service. He should have used other words.
As for the control over food quality, I think this issue will be reconsidered. Just vets cannot control this sphere, it will be a monopoly. Animals and meat products cannot be controlled by the same service.
Taras Vysotski, expert on agrarian markets:
- Such statements by Russia can become a start of information campaign against import from Ukraine. It is a well-known fact that despite various agreements on free trade area and similar Russia spare no effort to limit import of our production. Now it concerns not only odious sugar and spirit, but also diary and meat.
Now they raise a question about milk, and we hear 'border closure'. It's not difficult to understand what Russia is up to.
Volodymyr Lytvyn, speaker of the parliament:
- I don't see any grounds to state that our production is of low quality. If Ukrainian agricultural production is of low quality, why does everybody buy it?
To make such public statement, one must have serious grounds. I don't see such grounds, I see only political motivation.
Andriy Parubiy, Our Ukraine faction deputy, member of VR committee on foreign affairs:
- This statement has two goals. First one is an attempt to introduce economic sanctions or at least threaten to introduce. The second one is to prevent rapprochement between Ukraine and the EU, as Ukraine's decision to authorize veterinary service to control food quality meets European practice.
It is emotional and senseless statement. I don't think it is an organized economic attack. Most probably it is just an emotional warning. If Russia wanted to introduce economic sanctions it would invented more credible excuses.
Taras Chornovil, MP from the faction "Reforms for future":
- Russia uses every loophole to introduce economic sanctions against Ukraine. And in this cased Ukraine has help Russia to find this loophole. The draft bill has not been worked out properly, till the last nuance. The document does not say anything about vegetation sanitary service, and I don't think veterinary service will control fishery resources. We have not worked out the document till the end and created the problem by ourselves.
It does not matter who governs Ukraine. Russia's eternal strategic goal is to beat Ukraine. I am sure the amendments to the law on food quality control will not hurt anybody, especially Russian children going camping in Crimea, or at least the threat is lower than for children in Russian Shochi.
Oleh Yukhnovski, president of the food industry producers Union of Ukraine:
- We are playing in simplified regimes with our partners and they pay us with such "mutuality". It only remains to repeat: we should think more about our own interests, not others, hoping for some political dividends.
In the international trade and in domestic certification there are rules, and we do not violate these rules. And we hope all sides involved will follow these rules.
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