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Producers Urge Overturn of Frozen Chicken Ban

by 5m Editor
9 November 2010, at 11:48pm

RUSSIA - Local producers are calling on the government to postpone its recently confirmed ban on frozen poultry meat from January 2011.

Russia's largest poultry enterprises have written to First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov with a request to withhold a ban on processing of frozen poultry meat from next year, reports RIA Novosti, citing Kommersant business daily.

Last week Gennady Onishchenko, Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare head, told RIA Novosti that only chilled poultry would be sold in Russia from 2011 as meat freezing was an outdated technology.

Kommersant, which obtained the letter, said poultry producers told Mr Zubkov, who is responsible for agricultural issues in the government, that using chilled meat instead of frozen was 'often simply impossible', because the two-day period in which poultry can be kept chilled was not enough for processing due to the long distances between processing enterprises and poultry farms.

"As a result, domestic producers will be hurt – at the moment, any poultry plant can freeze its products and send it across the country, while without freezing, poultry from the European part of Russia will not reach Siberia. Our association members have invested $3 billion in Russia's agriculture, but now the investors have doubts whether they should invest in poultry farms and processing," Sergei Yushin, head of the National Meat Association, told Kommersant.

The letter also warned of rising prices for poultry products if the ban, which does not exist in the US or the European Union, was introduced.

The producers said the ban on frozen poultry would effectively mean an end to all poultry imports, as a Customs Union agreement states that only poultry with a temperature of below minus 18°C could be imported to the Union, which consists of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

Russia will hold talks on the issue with the EU on 11 November, as European authorities are worried by the proposed ban, Kommersant said.

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