Russia has dealt a huge blow to U.S. farmers, after banning all imports of U.S. soybeans and corn due to microbial and GMO contamination, the country’s food safety regulator Rosselkhoznadzor announced on Thursday. The ban will come in to place on February 15.
U.S soybean exports totaled over $156 million in 2013 and were continuing to rise fast in 2014 and 2015. U.S. corn exports to Russia on the other hand were relatively small – for example, from September 2013 to June 2014, Russia imported only 4,742 metric tons of U.S. corn.
“Restrictions will be imposed on imports starting from February 15,” Assistant Director of the Rosselkhoznadzor, Alexey Alekseenko, said Thursday, adding that “they (the US) have to establish a system to ensure safety of products imported to Russia.”
On Tuesday, Rosselkhoznadzor said it had reserved the right to ban imports of corn and soybeans from the United States.
At the end of the regulator said that it might ban imports of the US corn and soybeans due to contamination of products by quarantinable objects (microbial contamination) and the risk of delivery of GMO raw materials to Russia.
According to the regulator, the corn imported from the US is often infected with dry rot of maize. In addition, according to the Russian watchdog, corn can be used for transgenic crops in Russia. The potential damage from import and spread of quarantinable objects on the territory of Russia is estimated at 10-15 bln rubles ($126 mln-189 mln) annually.