Russia has imposed restrictions on meat imports from further international suppliers over claims that shipments broke food safety requirements.
The Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) found traces of zoonotic disease in meat imports from three companies in Spain, Australia and China. Officials said that since these were all repeat violations, they found it necessary to impose a temporary ban on imports from these companies.
Rosselkhoznadzor press secretary Alexei Alexeyenko said: “From 9 September, Rosselkhoznadzor will introduce temporary restrictions on imports into Russia from three companies in Australia, Spain and China.
"In particular, restrictions have been imposed on the Australian company JBS Australia Pty, due to the identification of beef mesophilic anaerobic microorganisms in the shipment, the Spanish company Frecarn SA, due to the identification of listeria in pork, and the Chinese company Longxing, due to the discovery of E.coli. in the meat.”
Several other companies have received warnings, but Rosselkhoznadzor did not impose bans because they were first offences.
“In addition, violations of veterinary rules were identified in a number of shipments of meat products coming from the companies in India (M/s Coastal Corporation and M/s Kan Foods), Uruguay (Suc. Carlos Schneck), France (Sarl Grandjean), Moldova (Idt Din Bardar), Spain (SAT1269 RL Fribin), Argentina (Mattievich SA) and Ukraine (PJSC ‘MHP’),” said Alexeyenko
“Due to the fact that the violations have been committed by these suppliers for the first time, Rosselkhoznadzor has not imposed restrictions, but has introduced a regime of enhanced laboratory control [over the supply of their production].”
Russian experts have linked the increased violations of veterinary rules with the country’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO). Head of the Russian Federal Supervision Agency for Customer Protection and Human Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor), Gennady Onishchenko, said that there had been an increase of low-quality meat products that do not meet health standards since Russia’s accession into the WTO.
“What I personally care about is our entry into the WTO, and the entry into WTO of our Customs Union. I can clearly say that we are registering a sharp worsening in the quality of consumer goods,” said Onishchenko.
“Thus, many Russian experts say that the number of similar prohibitions imposed on individual companies and, in some cases, on particular countries will only grow in the near future.”
Russia recently tightened import rules on meat from a number of US suppliers over food safety fears and has written to veterinary services in the US, Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico threatening to impose restrictions if ractopamine is found in meat imports.