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Russian competition office restricts meat imports from Europe

Russia's food safety competition office said Tuesday it had imposed temporary restrictions on meat imports from some European Union producers over health risk concerns.

Rosselkhoznadzor said salmonella had been discovered in a total of 79 metric tons of poultry shipments from Belgium and Germany, and 140 metric tons of meat were to be returned to the European Union. "The absence of the appropriate import permits and veterinary certificates for products to Russia, and breaches in Rosselkhoznadzor's temporary restrictions on supplies from certain producers over safety risks were the main violations," the body said. The move came as tensions over the Russian ban on Polish meat and other agricultural imports have prevented the start of talks on a strategic cooperation treaty between Russia and the EU. Poland, which calls the ban politically motivated, has vetoed the talks.

But Russia says it is primarily concerned about imports of poor quality meat via Poland from third countries, and suggested opening its market to some Polish producers. The competition office also said it would ban Indian rice, sesame, and peanut imports, including via third countries, starting from June 5. The body initially restricted the imports May 1 citing poor quality and health risks. (rian.ru)