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Russia bans three US wines

Russia’s consumer rights watchdog has banned three US wines over claims they violate its food safety laws, the latest in a line of products to be banned in the country.

Seat of power: St Basil’s Catherdral, Moscow

Rospotrebnadzor issued a statement yesterday confirming that it was banning the sale of Gnarly Head’s Chardonnay, produced by Delicato Family Vineyards, Geyser Peak Merlot, produced by Geyser Peak Winery, and Crane Lake Moscato, produced by Crane Lake Cellars.

The body claimed that an investigation had shown the products to contain excess levels of phthalic acid and pesticides.

“Phthalic acid … can cause functional and organic changes in the central and peripheral nerve system … also oncological illnesses and fertility problems in men and women”, the statement read.

Rospotrebnadzor has enforced several bans on imports from Western countries in recent months, which many claim to be a politically motivated attack on countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia over its alleged support for pro-Moscow rebels in east Ukraine. Last week, Rospotrebnadzor announced a ban on a brand of canned sprats from Poland.

US brands Sazerac and Jack Daniel’s both came under fire from Rospotrebnadzor earlier this year with the body imposing various restrictions on its imports. Prior to this, Russia banned 200 batches of imported wine which it claimed were in violation of the country’s “mandatory requirements”, adding that such violations are three times higher among imports than in domestic products. Alleged violations included a lack of information about the date of manufacture and manufacturer’s name, a lack of documents confirming the origin, quality and safety of products, violation of conditions of storage and the registration of price tags.

The tactic of banning alcoholic products has been used by Moscow as recently as 2008, when sales of Georgian wines were banned in Russia before diplomatic tensions spilt over in a short war with Tbilisi.

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