An apple a day keeps Russian food embargo at bay, says Berlin

Sept 2 Tue Sep 2, 2014 7:59am EDT

Sept 2 (Reuters) - Europeans should eat more fruit and vegetables to remedy the impact of Russian restrictions on food imports from the West, Germany's agriculture minister said on Tuesday.

"Eat! You should eat, I should eat, we should eat," the minister, Christian Schmidt, told German radio.

Europe faces disruption to food markets from import restrictions imposed by President Vladimir Putin, although Schmidt said the situation was manageable.

The one-year Russian embargo, in retaliation for Western economic sanctions over Moscow's actions in Ukraine, affects meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables from the United States, European Union and others.

"You cannot lament the fact that there is lots of fruit and then not eat fruit, that much is obvious. I need to get rid of it," Schmidt said in the interview with Deutschlandfunk.

He was due to meet the French and Polish farm ministers in Bonn later on Tuesday to prepare for an EU meeting on Friday to address the impact of the Russian import ban.

Schmidt said he was looking for alternative markets for produce like German apples in areas like South America and China, saying: "Russia is not the only country in the world that needs apples."

In the meantime, he urged Europeans to eat fruit "every morning, five times a day, full stop". (Reporting by Bethan John; Editing by Stephen Brown)