Russia's decision to introduce a "full embargo" on food imports from the European Union, the US and other Western countries could threatens to impact on thousands of UK jobs.
Prime minister Dmitry Medvedev announced the move in a response to sanctions imposed by the West over the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Mr Medvedev said the measures would include fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and dairy imports as tension between Russia and the West over Ukraine continue to heighten.
Russia's retaliation to Western sanctions are now threatening thousands of jobs across Britain's food manufacturing sector. The Scottish Pelagic Fishermen's Association (SPFA) warned that the Scottish fishing industry could bear the brunt of the embargo with jobs and exports particularly at threat.
The UK has key links with Russia when it comes to food and drinks. According to 2013 National Farmers Union figures, the UK exports £115 million worth of produce, including alcohol, to Russia. Of this total, £17 million is spent on frozen fish, £5.7 million on cheese and £5.3 million on coffee.
Speaking to FoodManufacture.co.uk, SPFA chairman Alex Wiseman said: "We are very worried. Russia is the biggest importer of our nation's fish - mainly mackerel. We are talking about £17 million worth of seafood and fish. Also several thousands of jobs in fish processing plants could be affected."
It is not just the fishing industry that is expected to be affected by Russia's latest move. Major retailers will also feel the pinch. Marks & Spencer currently operates 41 stores across Russia with four per cent of its operating profit coming from the country. The ban is expected to affect a lot of foreign companies in Russia.
The country is also thought to account for ten per cent of all European Union exports of food and drink, valued at around £9.6 billion, while US food exports to the nation are believed to be in the region of £772 million.