Written by by Katie Myers, CNN
Russia has banned the export of honey, honeycomb and honey nuts, amid concerns over an increase in preventable bee deaths in the country.
New restrictions were announced on Friday by the Russian agriculture ministry, with the aim of protecting Russian bees and ensuring that the foreign insects are not brought back home.
The import of honey, a sweet liquid from the fruit or flower kingdom, will be banned from January 23, while honeycomb and honey nuts from the European Union and Northern and Western Russia will be prohibited from February 5.
Violators face jail and/or fines of up to 50,000 rubles ($734), according to a document posted on the ministry’s website.
It comes following concerns over the rise in preventable bee deaths since September.
“I am particularly worried about the way in which honey, which has a very short shelf life, is being fed to hives,” Yulia Heidarova, the head of the ministry’s bee farm department, told the news agency RIA Novosti.
Heidarova said she’s confident that the decision to issue the new bans will help with the situation, pointing to a European Union ban placed on imports of bee- and honey-based products from Russia earlier this year.
A representative from the Moscow office of Ciao Belle Bakery, one of the brands affected by the ban, told CNN that the European Union ban had “made it impossible” for the bakery to meet the required quality standards.
But the ban has come at a price, the spokeswoman said.
“If the ban had not been imposed, the coffee in our menu would have been entirely made of honey. However, this was impossible. The butter was already being imported,” she said.