Putin Tells U. S. To Observe Poultry Safety Rules

Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned Jan. 14 Moscow will find alternative poultry import sources if the United States, Russia’s top supplier, does not observe new safety rules.

The comment adds to challenges that experts from the two countries would have to overcome at talks next week.

Washington has said new Russian measures would have a “devastating impact” on the U. S. poul try industry and trade, and raise the costs of poultry products for Russian consumers.

“If some foreign suppliers do not want, or are unable to observe our safety demands, then we will have to use other sources (of supply) ,” Putin said.

“One should not look for any political issues behind this,” he told a meeting on prospects of Russian poultry breeding held in a village in northwestern Russia.

Russia’s consumer protection watchdog has imposed from Jan. 1 a ban on poultry meat treated with chlorine, a process commonly used in the United States. This put at risk U. S. poultry exports to Russia, which were worth $800 million in 2008.

Putin said that Russia had warned Washington of the new rules well in advance, but the United States did not adopt the necessary measures to remedy the situation.

He said Russian poultry breeders should take steps to increase domestic output and to replace imports.

“Production in the next four to five years should not only cover domestic needs, but it should also occupy a significant place on the world market as is the case with grain,” Putin said referring to large Russian grains exports.

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