The Estonian Food and Veterinary Board (VTA) detained approximately 20 tons of unknown goods at the border checkpoint in Muuga. According to information supplied by the importer, the substance in question was allegedly honey, however conformance testing revealed it to be syrup instead.
The container carrying the goods reached the Estonian port on Aug. 27 last year, but due to incomplete documentation, it remained there as well, the VTA said.
Three months later, the importer submitted documents according to which the container was carrying honey, but conformance testing revealed that the substance was instead labeled as "rice fructose syrup."
The origin of the product was also questionable, as the country of origin listed in the paperwork was the U.S., but the label indicated that the country of origin was in fact China. The product weight listed in the paperwork likewise did not match the actual weight of the product, and the product had already expired in August 2014 as well.
While typically in such situations it is up to the importer to return the shipment to its country of origin or destroy the goods, the VTA was in this case unable to return the shipment due to incomplete documentation and information regarding the goods' actual country of origin, which meant that the goods were to be destroyed.
As the importer did not fulfill VTA orders to destroy the goods, the Estonian agency did so itself. Associated expenses are to be recovered from the importer.
Editor: Aili Vahtla