Russia's consumer protection watchdog has suspended cheese imports from Poland, citing violations in a cheese spread that had so far been exempt from Moscow's ban on Western food imports.
Experts from the Rospotrebnadzor watchdog found that a variety of processed cheese made by Poland's Ostrowia producers failed to meet Russia's "technical regulations," the agency said Monday in an online statement.
Russia in August banned an array of food imports from the West — including many varieties of cheese, such as Italian Parmesan — in response to sanctions against Moscow for its policy on Ukraine. But processed cheese was exempt from Moscow's sanctions, Ekho Moskvy reported.
Prices on many banned foods saw high inflation following the ban, with cheese prices rising eight percent from December of last year, state statistics service Rosstat said on Feb. 18.
The ban on Polish cheese went into effect Friday, Rospotrebnadzor said its statement.
The release of the statement also coincided with the end of Russia's Orthodox holiday known as "Cheese Week" or, more popularly, as Maslenitsa — a succession of feasts that traditionally feature pancakes and dairy products and precedes the start of Lent fasting.
Poland has been one of Europe's strongest critics of Russian policies in Ukraine. Among the produce to have been banned by Moscow over the Ukraine crisis are Polish apples, which previously made up 40 percent of all apples consumed in Russia.