EU wants Russia to lift meat bans

12-05-2008 | |

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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