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US Poultry Producers Agree to End Chlorine Usage

by 5m Editor
14 April 2010, at 6:44a.m.

RUSSIA - US poultry processors agreed to stop using chlorine to treat poultry in order to resume supplies to Russia, Gennady Onishchenko, head of the Federal Consumer Protection Service, has said. This is likely to allow the resumption of US poultry meat exports to Russia.

"We have information that US factories are intensively working to give up treating poultry with chlorine-containing sanitations," Mr Onishchenko told Interfax, adding that poultry producers said they were ready to resume exports as soon as possible.

Mr Onishchenko said Russia would start working with certain producers after they provide official confirmation that they would supply poultry that hasn't been treated with chlorine.

Russia froze imports of US poultry on 1 January after long-planned regulations that forbid the import of poultry treated with chlorine — a production method used by many US producers — went into effect.

Russia and the United States have already held two rounds of negotiations and created a draft of an agreement on renewed imports.

Mr Onishchenko didn't specify which companies had agreed to the overhaul or when exports could be resumed.

Albert Davleyev, director of the Russian office of the US Poultry and Egg Export Council, said he could not comment on the course of the negotiations.

The Russian Poultry Union, a nonprofit organisation representing Russian poultry producers and suppliers, has no information on the US companies' intention to resume supplies, said Galina Bobylyova, the union's head.

"Everything depends on how actively they will adopt [the new technology] and which technology they will implement. It will take them six months to a year," she told The Moscow Times.

She also said Russian poultry producers were increasing production volumes to fulfill the government's order to replace imports in the coming years.

Chicken is the top US export to Russia, bringing in $600 million to $700 million a year to producers in 38 US states, but that may change in the coming years if domestic producers edge out US imports.

President Dmitry Medvedev signed a new "food security" doctrine in February, calling for, among other things, 85 per cent of all meat consumed in the country to be produced domestically.

In January, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Russia would be able to cease all poultry imports by 2015.

Agriculture Minister Yelena Skrynnik said Tuesday that meat production would increase five per cent this year.

The volume of domestic poultry production increased by 14.6 per cent in 2009, and Russia will become a net exporter of poultry over the next four to five years, the ministry said last month.