7 Apr 2010 15:56

Russia awaiting U.S. reply on poultry proposals

MOSCOW. April 7 (Interfax) - Russia is waiting for the U.S. to reply to the proposed final document that will allow U.S. poultry supplies to resume on the Russian market, Gennady Onishchenko said, head of the Russian consumer rights watchdog (Rospotrebnadzor) and chief medical officer.

"I have not changed my views on the staggering progress [at the talks with the U.S.]. The ball is on that side," Onishchenko said at a press conference at Interfax in Moscow on Wednesday.

Russian experts who took part in the negotiations are waiting for the U.S. to reply to proposals concerning poultry treatment and the final document that would allow the resumption of U.S. poultry supplies, he said.

The new regulations effective in Russia since January 1, 2010, ban the import of chlorine treated poultry. Virtually all U.S. poultry supplies fell under the effects of the new ban.

The proposals sent to the U.S. negotiators contain a list of disinfectants, which could be used for poultry treatment instead of chlorine, Onishchenko said.

"So we are waiting. This morning our embassy in the United States said the last commas are being put in and punctuation being checked. The response to my letter is expected to be sent shortly," the Rospotrebnadzor chief said.

Were it not for the U.S. officials who interfered, it would have been much easier to agree with U.S. companies to stop using chlorine in poultry treatment, he said.

"I must say that manufacturers in the United States have agreed a long time ago. They are saying, 'you need a black top, white bottom, no problem. You want a white top, black bottom, again, no problem. But they say we are not allowed.' When officials start meddling with business, big trouble is coming," Onishchenko said.