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800 Chinese tons

Alexander Saveliev on why black caviar from China and Italy to Russia is supplied, but on the shelves it seems not

800 Chinese tons
Photo: yandex.ru

Alexander Saveliev

Head of the Fisheries Information Agency
A simple buyer can not recognize the black caviar produced in China, in Israel, in Iran or elsewhere, impossible. Actually for this purpose there is a system of marking, traceability of products.

Since 1 September 2017 in Russia came into force a revolutionary document to protect our consumer interests - the Technical Regulations of the Eurasian Economic Union "On the safety of fish and fish products." Ideally, it allows us to identify flawlessly not only black caviar, but everything related to fish products and, above all, at the time of purchase, have absolutely exact answers on three fundamental questions: what is this caviar or fish with the exact name where it is caught or grown and when. However, so far no one fact of the application of this technical regulation on the territory of our country has been fixed.

In addition to the Technical Regulations on the Safety of Fish and Fishery Products, from 1 January, 2018 was to earn electronic veterinary certification provided for by federal legislation and aimed at an impeccable inspection, in this case, of caviar and fish for safety and suitability for consumption. This mandatory system also allows you to track the timing and movement of fish products from places of catch or cultivation to the counter, however, its introduction was postponed at the request of the Fish Union companies on 1 July 2018.

In addition, the State Duma adopted a law that comes into force from 1 January 2019, on identification marking, which, of course, will affect black caviar and generally sturgeon fish.

In the meantime, when choosing black caviar, we can only rely on our own organoleptic intuition, taste priorities, customer experience and trust only trusted sellers. The existing system of product labeling and accompanying documents does not allow us at the time of purchase to fully identify, in particular, black caviar and fish products, instantly having an exact and clear answer to the questions of what caviar or fish are, where it was caught or grown and when.

For example, according to the Federal Customs Service, the official import of black caviar from China to the Russian Federation has remained at the level of five and a half tons for the past three years. By the way, Italian Agroittica supplies us with about the same amount of black caviar. However, not a single jar of black caviar sold in Russia indicated that it was made in China or Italy. “We had to put a Russian brand on the jars, and we do not put the mark“ Made in Italy ”on them,” said Lelio Mondello, managing director of Agroittica, a couple of years ago. The same is done with Chinese black caviar. Of the 136 aquaculture farms of the PRC accredited by the Rosselkhoznadzor for the supply of sturgeon and black caviar to the Russian Federation and published on the agency's website, we will not find a single Chinese address on any can of black caviar in our country.

A huge flow of black caviar comes to Russia from China, bypassing customs and veterinary control.

Customs rules allow citizens to move 0,25 kg of black caviar, so to speak, for personal use. However, almost every day, the border guards of the FSB of Russia, the Federal Customs Service and the Rosselkhoznadzor report about the fact of the large batches of caviar being detained from China by individuals not only directly across the border, but also at airports and railway stations within the country. In particular, the regional departments of Rosselkhoznadzor regularly report attempts to smuggle black caviar in airplanes or trains with a volume of 10-30 kg.

Law enforcement authorities disclose the volumes of black caviar transported from China, which are measured in tons. The loudest detentions took place in the pigsty of Rzhevsky district, where Chinese black caviar was packaged under the "Gold of the Caspian" brand for expensive supermarkets in Moscow at the price of 80 thousand rubles per kilogram, at the "Post of Russia" in kubotainers with Chinese black caviar, covered with red and flown from Kamchatka, as well as detained in the Khabarovsk Territory for speeding traffic police officers hearse with halftone Chinese black caviar in the coffin.

For the illegal movement of black caviar from China, transport schemes are used under the guise of covering goods. Rosselkhoznadzor also reported on a number of prosecuted cases of such administrative offenses.

In addition, suppliers of Chinese black caviar to Russia make extensive use of the possibilities of a single customs space within the Eurasian Economic Union. For example, according to the data of the National Statistical Committee of Belarus and the Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Statistics, these union states have increased the import of black caviar to Russia over the past two years dozens of times, although their own sturgeon production is not developed. Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev called Belarus a "transshipment base" and a "back door" for the supply of food to Russia at the spring meeting of the Rosselkhoznadzor board.

Recently, the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation has twice appealed to the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, Yuri Chaika, with a request to conduct checks on the facts of the distribution of Chinese black caviar under Russian brands and proposed to classify the distribution of counterfeit goods under a criminal article.

Finally, the analysis of data from the state statistical and commercial sources of the People's Republic of China, as well as the volume of retail offers on the Russian market, makes it possible to estimate the supply of black caviar to Russia in excess of eight hundred tons.

Let me remind you, according to law enforcement agencies, the illegal turnover of black caviar in Russia is $ 1,5 billion.

There is no hope that the flow of black caviar from China, with a purchase price of $ 8 per kg there, will run dry. At least until the effective introduction of the Technical Regulations "On the safety of fish and fish products", electronic veterinary certification and identification labeling.
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