4 May 2010 18:00

U.S. poultry meat imports can only be processed with Russian-approved solutions

MOSCOW. May 4 (Interfax) - U.S. poultry companies may only export product to Russia that has been processed using non-chlorine sterilizing solutions that are registered in Russia.

"The use by U.S. poultry producers of non-chlorine sterilizing preparations to process poultry meat exported to Russia is possible only if the preparation is registered or will be registered in our country and conforms to Russian regulations," Alexei Alekseyenko, told Interfax.

The American side has proposed adding a supplement to the veterinary certification for U.S. poultry production intended for the Russian market that would indicate the method used to sterilize the meat, he said.

The list proposed by the American side contains 22 sterilizing preparations, of which only 12 are registered in Russia.

The problem was discussed during the recent meeting between Rosselkhoznadzor chief Sergei Dankvert and Scott Reynolds, the Minister-Counselor for Agricultural Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. They agreed to continue their consultations.

A Russian sanitary norm prohibiting the import of meat processed with chlorine solutions came into effect on January 1. The ban applies to almost all the chicken meat Russia imports from the U.S.

The first talks between Russian and U.S. food experts concerning the outlook for U.S. poultry exports to Russia were held in Moscow in January. The second round of talks concluded in Moscow in early March, whereupon the Russian and U.S. experts began agreeing a document that would allow the U.S. to resume chicken exports to Russia.

Russia is a major importer of U.S. poultry meat. It imported 823,267 tonnes of chicken meat from the U.S. in 2008 compared with 855,808 tonnes in 2007. In value terms the imports increased 8% to $801 million in 2008.

The Institute of Agrarian Marketing, a Russian industry association, reports that Russian poultry producers were able to compensate the shortfall in imports from the U.S. in the first quarter of the year, but that Russian broiler chickens are more expensive than those from the U.S.