News update:Nov 24, 2006

EU animal products could be banned in Russia

The European Commission has reported that Russia intends to ban all animal product imports from the EU from 1 January 2007, because, Russia says, new members Bulgaria and Romania have poor animal health standards.

The news comes ahead of the scheduled EU-Russia summit that will take place tomorrow in Helsinki.
Russia already bans meat and some plant imports from Poland, and Poland plans to block the launch of talks on a new agreement to tighten ties between Russia and the EU, unless the ban is lifted.
Commission spokesman Philip Tod said the EU had taken steps to protect safety standards after Romania and Bulgaria join.
“We would not regard such a measure as justified or necessary,” he said. “The EU has taken all necessary measures to ensure the protection of animal health.”
Russia's Veterinary and Phytosanitary Control Service, Rosselkhoznadzor, said that Russia could stop issuing licences for EU imports as of 1 January, unless it receives guarantees of the safety and quality of meat imported from Bulgaria and Romania, Russian news agencies reported.
Russian EU envoy Sergei Yastrzhembsky said Bulgaria and Romania must abide by rules on meat and plant imports. He said the two new countries had to meet rules that are accepted by both the EU and Russia.
“Of course we would like to do without any bans,” he said, adding that bans are “the last resort, for cases when, unfortunately, persuasion brings no result”.
Tod said checks were in place to prevent animal products that did not meet EU food safety standards from reaching the EU market - much less export markets.
“We are fully confident that Romania and Bulgaria are ready to assume the responsibilities of membership and there is no risk to the ... market,” Tod said.

Editor WorldPoultry

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