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Top Russian Official Defends Ban On US Meat

by 5m Editor
29 May 2009, at 9:54am

RUSSIA - The service head of Rosselkhoznadzor, the Federal Veterinary service, has clarified that his country's ban in imports from the US is on food safety grounds.

The Federal Veterinary Service said it will not yield to US attempts to make it lift health-related import bans on meat imports, saying the measures stem from real safety concerns, not politics.

According to Moscow Times, service head, Sergei Dankvert, said in an interview that meat trade issues between Russia and the United States should be resolved by business people and veterinarians, not politicians.

"Strangely enough, we have to argue not with veterinarians, but with officials," Mr Dankvert said on 26 May. "The more the situation is pegged to politics, the worse it becomes."

Russia is the largest export market for the $55 billion US poultry industry and a major importer of pork and beef. It has banned all meat imports from several US states on concerns related to the A/H1N1 flu virus.

"We are not going to yield to any enforcement," Mr Dankvert said in response to the comments from Washington.

The service, together with the Russian poultry market lobby, plans to discuss issues of US meat safety guarantees with producers and veterinarians at an annual meeting of the World Organization for Animal Health in Paris this week. Several countries have banned meat imports since the H1N1 outbreak even though the virus has not been spread by pigs or pork.

Mr Dankvert said that despite the Russian bans, US meat imports had suffered little damage, reports Moscow Times.