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Candy counterstrike: Ukraine bans chocolate from Russia’s United Confectioners

By Oliver Nieburg+

07-Apr-2014

Ukraine bans products from Russia's leading confectionery firm, months after a Russian ban on Ukraine's top confectioner Roshen
Ukraine bans products from Russia's leading confectionery firm, months after a Russian ban on Ukraine's top confectioner Roshen

The Ukrainian government has banned certain candy and chocolate products from part Russian state-owned firm United Confections.

Ukraine said that the products violated domestic laws on food safety and labelling.

The move follows an earlier import ban Russia imposed on Ukraine’s top confectioner Roshen, whose pro-EU owner is a frontrunner in Ukraine’s presidential race.

Russia not informed of ban

Russia consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor (CPS) said on Friday: “Contrary to the rules established by international law, Ukrainian control (supervisory) authorities have not informed CPS to undertake any activities related to the identification of Russian products [that] allegedly do not meet quality and safety requirements.”

The ban relates to several chocolate and candy products produced by four factories that belong to United Confectioners, a part state-owned holding firm of 19 factories that stem from former Soviet-era confectionery factories.

Products banned include Red October milk chocolate and Rot Front candy bars.

Products removed from retailers

The four United Confectioners factories affected by the ban are Red October, Rot Front, Russian Chocolate and Confectionery Concern Babaev,

“As of today, Ukraine Derzhspozhyvinspektsiyeyu [consumer watchdog group] has taken appropriate measures to remove these and other Russian products, delivered with violations [to] hypermarkets and major retailers,” said the Ukraine government in a statement.

The Ukrainian authorities also imposed a ban on some cheese products from French firm Lactalis’ Russian subsidiary and seafood products from Russian firm Roskon.

Lipetsk raids

Last month, Russian police raided the Lipetsk factories of Ukraine’s leading confectioner Roshen.

Roshen told us that the seizure was connected to an ongoing trademark dispute with United Confectioners.

Ukrainian news agency Interfax reported on Friday that the Lipetsk factories have resumed operations.

Roshen’s owner Petro Poroshenko is a presidential candidate in upcoming elections in Ukraine who has come out in support of the EU. He recently told Germany’s Bild publication that he would sell Roshen if elected president.

Roshen import ban

In July 2013, Russia banned imports from Roshen claiming it had found harmful ingredients in its chocolate, which forced Roshen temporarily close one of its factories.

In November 2013, Russian authority Rospotrebnadzor reached a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ukrainian government that included phased reintroduction of Roshen products into Russia.

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