Russia tightens checks on meat imports over dioxin crisis

8th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia said Saturday it had heightened checks on meat from Germany and other European countries and threatened an import ban after Germany closed thousands of farms over animal feed tainted with dioxin.

The Russian agriculture watchdog said in a statement sent to AFP on Saturday that it had "taken the decision to heighten control of food of animal origin imported from Germany and several other European Union countries".

It did not specify which European Union countries fell under the tougher rules.

The watchdog also threatened that Russia could ban meat imports if it did not receive official information on the situation as soon as possible and if it were not satisfied by European measures to control the situation.

The watchdog "retains the right to introduce restrictions on supplying food of animal origin to the Russian market from the regions of heightened risk", it said in the statement.

German officials said Friday they had shut 4,700 farms and destroyed more than 100,000 eggs after tests showed dangerous levels of dioxin, a poisonous chemical compound, in fatty acids used to make industrial animal feed.

The Russian agency complained of its "serious concern" that it had not received any information from Germany or the executive European Commission on the situation and said it had sent an official request.

"The European Union still lacks a system to react urgently to cases that could be dangerous for animals and humans," the watchdog's spokesman Alexei Alexeyenko told the Interfax news agency.

© 2011 AFP

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