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Ukraine Takes Umbrage at Onishchenko

KIEV — The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has said Ukrainian-Russian relations must not depend on people who oversee food product quality control.

"Russia has a very professional Foreign Ministry, very highly-qualified diplomats, and we believe that the Ukrainian-Russian relations must be in the hands of precisely such diplomats, and not the people who monitor the quality of any particular product and the quality and cleanliness in public eating establishments," Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Dykusarov said at a briefing, commenting on the statement by Russian Federal Consumer Protection Service chief Gennady Onishchenko about the quality of the Ukrainian agrarian products, Interfax reported.

Earlier Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Hryshchenko said it would be appropriate for Onishchenko to apologize to Ukraine for such statements, the spokesman said.

Onishchenko said his agency might have to restrict the import of Ukrainian agricultural products over the negative consequences, which may result from the handover of human food control to the Ukrainian veterinary service.

On Thursday, Onishchenko told Interfax that his service, having analyzed the situation on the consumer market in the dairy product segment, concluded "in the fourth quarter of 2011 there was a noticeable deterioration in the quality standards of the cheese supplied from Ukraine." In particular, there was an increased level of palm oil in the cheese supplied to Russia by a number of Ukrainian manufacturers. By Russian standards, in particular, those pertaining to milk and dairy products, such products containing high levels of palm oil should be called a "cheese product" and not "cheese."

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