9 Aug 2010 15:40

Rosselkhoznadzor urges U.S. not rush to send chicken to Russia

MOSCOW. Aug 9 (Interfax) - Russian food safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor is calling on U.S. poultry producers to not rush to ship their meat to Russia.

"The appearance in the American press of reports that American warehouses contain major consignments of poultry meat with labels and accompanying documents in the Russian language raises serious concerns for Rosselkhoznadzor," the agency said in a statement.

This is because a list of U.S. companies with the right to ship their product to the Russian market has not been yet confirmed or posted on the Rosselkhoznadzor website. Only after "such publication will a company on the list acquire the right to ship their product to Russia," Rosselkhoznadzor said.

Initial examination by Rosselkhoznadzor of the list proposed by the U.S. indicates that not all the enterprises with the right to export to Russia may be put on the new one. "This is because some of these enterprises were stripped of the right to export to Russia and some received serious warnings after safety monitoring of their product," Rosselkhoznadzor said. The U.S. is also proposing companies that have never shipped product to Russia before. "The circumstance was not considered that putting new enterprises on the list after the creation of the Customs Union is only possible after joint inspections by Rosselkhoznadzor specialists and the corresponding services of Belarus and Kazakhstan, about which the American side has been informed in official fashion," Rosselkhoznadzor said.

In such circumstances, the preparation of large consignment of poultry-farming product for shipment to the Russian market is premature and unfounded, Rosselkhoznadzor said. Russia forbade the import of poultry meat treated with chlorine at the first of the year, which put an effective halt to all chicken shipments from the United States.

The United States quota for poultry meat to Russia this year is 600,000 tonnes, however at the start of June it was decided to shift 150,000 tonnes of that to suppliers in other countries. U.S. producers received in June twelve different proposed poultry-meat processing methods that did not use chlorine to disinfect meat.

Before the ban, the U.S. was Russia's biggest supplier of chicken meat, particularly thighs and legs. The U.S. National Chicken Council's figures indicate the country sold Russia $744 million worth of chicken meat in 2009.