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News 185 views last update:6 Aug 2012

EU wants Russia to lift meat bans

The EU's executive arm has stated that Russia's ban on imported meat from large companies in seven EU countries was disproportionate and should be removed.

"The (European) Commission maintains that EU meat does not pose a risk to the consumer and that the measures taken by Russia are disproportionate," said a spokeswoman for EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said in a statement. "Therefore, the Commission has requested Russia to review its measures," the statement said.

Antibiotics levels too high
Reuters reports that Russia, which is a major consumer of western European meat, has recently introduced a series of company-specific bans on poultry, pork and beef imports after determining that antibiotic levels in meat shipments exceeded safe limits.

"On the basis of the initial information available to the Commission, the levels of antibiotic residues reported by Russia remain in most cases well below the maximum residue levels allowed in EU legislation and in the international standard," the spokeswoman said.

The ban has affected meat firms in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Belgium and Hungary, while imports from companies in the US, Canada, Brazil and Argentina have also been banned indefinitely.

Politically motivated
Some European diplomats in Moscow said the restrictions could be politically motivated and obstruct Russian accession to the World Trade Organisation, according to Reuters.

Moscow has been accused repeatedly in the last few years of using import bans on agricultural products for political ends, but this has always been denied by Russian officials.

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