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    Fake saury surfaced in the networks // The volume of fake canned food is growing

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    The fall in incomes of the population provoked the growth of counterfeit canned fish, which are sold in retail in millions of cans. Some producers under the guise of expensive saury sell, for example, cheap sardines. But, despite the existing system “Mercury”, which allows to identify substitution, regulators under current regulations cannot withdraw such products from sale. Market participants, fearing a decrease in income due to the growth of counterfeit, turned to the Ministry of Industry and Trade with a request to resolve the situation.

    Kommersant received a letter from the Association of Fisheries Industrial Enterprises of Primorye (ARPP) dated August 16 to the head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov with a request to intervene in the situation with the growth of counterfeit canned fish in retail. The letter says that since 2020, there has been an increase in cases of “unscrupulous enterprises replacing expensive saury in canned food with cheaper sardines and herring.” Such products are sold at the price of saury.

    According to the ARPP, in 2021, the wholesale cost of raw materials for a can of canned saury was 65 rubles, sardines – 16 rubles.

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade promised to consider the letter after it was received. ARPP writes that the IS “Mercury” monitors the receipt of raw materials and the manufacture of finished products, “fixing the moment of “transformation” of canned food with cheap fish into expensive.” But by this time, counterfeit products are already in retail.

    Further, they emphasize in the ARPP, a paradoxical situation arises. Rosselkhoznadzor fixes the violation, but does not have the authority to seize or arrest counterfeit canned food, since only Rospotrebnadzor can do this. The latter, according to the regulations of the Customs Union, can examine the product only by the organoleptic method. But Rospotrebnadzor inspectors “cannot distinguish one fish from another by taste,” and the budget does not allocate funds for the modernization of laboratories where the agency could determine the product by DNA, the ARPP notes. Rosselkhoznadzor has such laboratories, but current regulations do not allow Rospotrebnadzor to use the results of a study by a third-party structure.

    The Federal Agency for Fishery told Kommersant that this issue is within the competence of Rosselkhoznadzor as the operator of the system. They were unable to provide prompt comment. Rospotrebnadzor reported that back in 2021, they received appeals from the Dobroflot Group of Companies regarding the falsification of canned saury. But the laboratory tests provided by the company were considered by the service to be insufficient evidence.

    The ARPP says that earlier this year they turned to the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) with a request to find a solution to “this systemic problem.” But the service said that information about the purposeful nature of the identified violations is not confirmed. On Wednesday, the FAS told Kommersant that the actions of manufacturers described by the ARPP fall within the scope of the law on consumer protection. eye for violations. Lenta says that when information is received about the replacement of raw materials in canned fish, they are removed from sale. X5 Group, Magnit, Auchan, Dixy did not respond to a request from Kommersant.

    Managing partner of Agro & Food Communications Ilya Bereznyuk believes that the demand for counterfeit canned food is growing due to a decrease income of Russians. He believes that the integration of “Mercury” with the labeling of canned fish could solve the problem. The experiment on voluntary labeling of these products was supposed to start in April this year, but the Ministry of Industry and Trade abandoned it. Meanwhile, the Rosselkhoznadzor not so long ago in the Novosibirsk region revealed 6 million cans of canned fish, where raw materials were used that differed from those indicated on the package. The CRPT (operator of the Chestny Znak labeling system) stated that they were ready to promptly launch an experiment on labeling these products if such decisions were made. However, Alexander Efremov fears that the integration of the two systems will lead to duplication of functions.

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