Russia to resume buying Dutch, Belgian vegetables

By the Associated Press | June 28, 2011 | 6:29 AM EDT

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's top sanitary official says the country is ending its blanket ban on vegetable imports from the European Union, starting with the Netherlands and Belgium.

Gennady Onishchenko was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying that he allowed the shipments to begin Tuesday, ending a blanket ban on imports to ensure an E. coli outbreak did not spread east.

He didn't say when imports of vegetables from other EU nations will resume, but added that Poland, Lithuania, Spain, Denmark and the Czech Republic were to follow.

The EU called the ban disproportionate and the dispute has clouded Russia's WTO accession talks.

Russia and the EU have reached agreement safety certification, and Onishchenko said EU producers must strictly comply.