Canadian pork producers will not be able to return to the Russian market after Russia lifts restrictions on food imports because the Federal Veterinary and Phyto-Sanitary Oversight Service (Rosselkhoznadzor) is banning imports of this meat effective November 14, and the same fate awaits U.S. poultry farmers.
Imports of these products are currently banned under the restrictions on food imports that Russia imposed on August 7 for a period of one year.
The head of the Russian food safety watchdog, Sergei Dankvert told Interfax that the ban on Canadian pork is being imposed the Canadian authorities have not completed work on determining why ractopamine, a drug used to promote leanness in animals, is getting into pork and have not worked out a plan to detect harmful substances.
"They gave guarantees that they would take steps to carry out Russian requirements, but as practice has shown this was not done, so we were forced to impose restrictions," Dankvert said.
Now Rosselkhoznadzor, taking advantage of the pause in trade, due in part to the food embargo, will build relations on a new foundation, Dankvert said. He said that in Canada the veterinary service answers to two ministries - healthcare and agriculture.
"We need to understand which institution provides real guarantees of safety, whose guarantees we can accept," Dankvert said.
"On the whole, we should relaunch the mechanism of giving Canadian pork companies access to the Russian market, but one thing is already clear, that the companies in whose products ractopamine was found will not return to us," Dankvert said.
He also said that Canadian shrimp might be banned after the food embargo is lifted. "Harmful substances were constantly being found in them, the veterinary service does not have a sound system for investigating violations," Dankvert said.
He also said that American poultry farmers might not return to the Russian market after Russia lifts its food import restrictions because the watchdog also has many complaints about their products, particularly their use of antibiotics. In addition, on October 24 the United States introduced a system under which some of the government functions concerning control over the safety of poultry were handed over to private companies, while 90% of American poultry producers were included in the list of suppliers to Russia under guarantees from the U.S. veterinary service.
Rosselkhoznador will hold negotiations with its American counterparts on Thursday. As a rule, this is the last procedure before restrictions are imposed.
Dankvert said his agency's requirements for all suppliers of products subject to oversight are the same.
"Even now, opening markets to alternative, 'banned' countries, such as Latin American countries and South Africa, without fail we conduct inspections of potential suppliers. Now, for example, two groups of our inspectors are in Argentina to inspect enterprises for three weeks," Dankvert said.
Prior to the restrictions on food imports, Canada was one of the biggest suppliers of pork to Russia and the United States was one of the biggest suppliers of poultry.
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