A worker uses a bulldozer to crush crates of peaches outside the city
Moscow - AFP
Russian officials on Friday destroyed hundreds of tonnes of fruit as they pushed on with a controversial drive to eradicate smuggled Western food.
Authorities started trashing produce on Thursday after President Vladimir Putin ordered the destruction of food brought into the country in breach of a year-old embargo imposed in retaliation for Western sanctions over the Ukraine conflict.
The decision to eliminate the food sparked a rare outburst of public ire as more than 300,000 people signed a petition asking officials to give the food to the rising number of poor in the crisis-hit nation.
Russia's food safety agency said it destroyed around 180 tonnes of fruit including peaches, nectarines, cherries and grapes that crossed over the border from Belarus and were "falsely" marked as coming from Turkey.
Another 40 tonnes of fruit were seized and destroyed at a landfill site close to the border, the agency said in a separate statement.
About 319 tonnes of food were destroyed Thursday, including some meat from Italy which was burned in a garbage incinerator at Saint Petersburg's Pulkovo airport.
Moscow last year banned a slew of food products from the West, ranging from specialties such as Parmesan cheese, pate and Spanish hams to staples like apples. Food brought in for private consumption is still permitted.
Russia has complained that some importers are circumventing the ban by illegally slapping on new labels that claim the food was produced in neighbouring ex-Soviet countries.