March 10, 2004

 

 

Russia Bans Poultry Imports From Maryland

 

Russia's veterinary service Tuesday banned poultry imports from the U.S. state of Maryland, where a strain of avian flu has been found.

 

The ban was introduced after Russian officials were informed by U.S. authorities about a strain of the flu found at a Maryland farm, said Stanislav Zakharov, a deputy chief of the veterinary department at Russia's Agriculture Ministry.

 

The ban covers live birds, eggs and all poultry products that haven't undergone thermal treatment.

 

Russia, the U.S.' largest poultry export market, has already banned imports from the states of Delaware and Texas. Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev has said the temporary ban could be expanded to the entire U.S. if avian flu spins out of control.

 

Russia has also banned poultry from 11 Asian nations hit by bird flu.

 

Russia agreed last fall to ease import quotas on U.S. chicken, pork and beef. In 2002, Russian inspectors had found a dozen U.S. poultry plants in violation of food safety standards and refused to accept their products.

 

Russia's import cap on poultry this year is 1.05 million metric tons, of which about 772,000 tons is to come from the U.S.

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