Russia tells retailers to withdraw some foreign detergent brands

US-manufactured bleach. [Mike Mozart/Flickr]

Russian consumer safety watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said on Tuesday (25 August) that it had ordered retailers to withdraw detergents produced by several foreign consumer groups.

The regulator said some products of Henkel, Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, and Clorox had to be removed from the marketplace because they did not meet Russia’s toxicological safety criteria.

Last year Russia banned many food imports from the European Union and United States in retaliation for their sanctions over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine conflict. The list of affected countries was expanded this year and Russian regulators have also restricted Dutch flower imports, citing health risks.

>> Read: Dutch flowers represent ‘sanitary threat’, Russia says

The extent of the withdrawal of foreign detergent brands was not immediately clear. Local media said it would only affect some products rather than entire product lines.

Rospotrebnadzor said it was carrying out further tests on household chemicals and detergents of other producers but did not elaborate.

>>Read: EU tries to limit damage from Russian food embargo

Henkel’s spokeswoman Natalia Ovakimian said the company was aware of the inspections, which were linked to the regulator’s earlier order to withdraw some of its detergent products from retail chains.

Clorox spokeswoman Aileen Zerrudo said the company did not “actively market cleaning products in Russia,” but might have sold a “small amount of products” to a distributor.

“In countries where we don’t operate but have permitted distribution of our products, we work with distributors to ensure regulations are met,” she said, adding that Clorox would conduct a “thorough assessment of this matter.”

P&G said it was seeking to work with the Rospotrebnadzor to resolve the matter as soon as possible.

Russia’s home care market is valued at 188.54 billion rubles ($2.74 billion), according to Euromonitor. P&G has a 27.4% share of the market, with Henkel holding 16.3%.

On 12 August, Russia announced that it had added Albania, Montenegro, Liechtenstein and Iceland to a list of countries from which it has banned most food imports in retaliation for Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

>>Read: Russia to extend ban on Western food imports until early 2016

Russia’s counter-sanctions, currently in place until 5 August 2016, previously covered the United States, Canada, Norway, Australia and the 28 member states of the European Union. The ban includes meat, fish, dairy products, fruit and vegetables.

The EU and other Western countries imposed sanctions against Russian firms and individuals last year in response to Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis and its annexation of the Crimea peninsula.

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