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The re-commencement of exports to Russia should not affect the availability of lactose-free products in Finland, assures Mika Koskinen, Valio's head of operations in Russia.Valio has expressed its delight with the decision of Russia to remove lactose-free dairy products from its list of banned foodstuffs, with Mika Koskinen, Valio's head of operations in Russia, revealing that the dairy company is ready to re-commence the exports without delay.

“All the products that have been available in [Russian] markets will be ready for export practically immediately. We have continued production and have the necessary packaging materials,” tells Koskinen.

The first products to reach the shelves of Russian grocery shops will be lactose-free milk drinks, creams, quarks and cottage cheeses.

According to Koskinen, Valio was intent on expanding its line of lactose-free products in Russia long before the country imposed restrictions on the imports of agricultural products. The new lactose-free products, he says, were to be launched this autumn.

The fact that Valio had even manufactured the first batch of packaging materials will now allow it to re-commence the exports of lactose-free products to Russia without any undue delay.

The exports of perishable lactose-free products have accounted for roughly one-tenth of the value of all Valio exports to Russia. Perishable dairy products include cottage cheese but no other cheeses.

Koskinen on Wednesday refused to speculate on whether Valio could also re-commence the exports of its popular Oltermanni cheeses, which are also available in lactose-free forms in Finland. “We sell lactose-free butter in Finland, and there's nothing to stop us from making lactose-free processed cheeses either,” he said.

The re-commencement of exports to Russia should not impact the availability of lactose-free products in Finland, Koskinen also assured.

In addition to lactose-free dairy products, Russia on Wednesday lifted import bans on salmon and trout hatchlings, seed potatoes, onions, corn and biological supplements upon a decree issued by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Terhi Kinnunen – HS
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
© HELSINGIN SANOMAT
Photo: Kimmo Mäntylä / Lehtikuva

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