August 7, 2014
Russia bans cattle and beef imports from southern Europe
Russia's food safety watchdog, Rosselkhoznadzor, announced fresh restrictions on imports of cattle and beef from southern Europe on August 6, citing disease outbreaks.
Following an outbreak of mad cow disease near Cluj in Romania, Russia's Rosselkhoznadzor said it was ordering temporary restrictions on the import of cattle, beef, and cow feed containing animal protein from the EU country.
The Russian watchdog is also introducing temporary restrictions on import of cattle and other susceptible animals from Bulgaria and some regions of Italy and Greece due to outbreaks of bluetongue, which affects sheep and cattle. The restrictions come into effect on Wednesday and Thursday, said the watchdog.
The Romanian veterinary agency ANSVSA said that Romania does not export either beef or cattle to Russia". It said that Romania was "not confronting a BSE epidemic but one isolated case, the first since 1995", adding that the World Organisation for Animal Health said there was a "negligible risk" of the disease spreading.
The bans are widely perceived as a response to Western sanctions imposed over Moscow's Ukraine policy. Moscow is often accused of restricting trade to make a political point, and has in recent weeks banned or threatened to ban a range of products from EU countries and the United States.