Russia to hold talks to discuss lifting ban on imports of British variety meats, which was imposed in 1986 following outbreak of mad cow disease

MOSCOW , August 20, 2013 () – Russia may lift an almost 30-year-long ban on the import of British variety meats, which was imposed in 1986 following an outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy commonly known as mad cow disease.

On August 21, Yevgeny Nepoklonov, first deputy head of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Control (Rosselkhoznadzor), will hold talks with British Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens to discuss the issue.

Alexei Alexeyenko, an aide to the Rosselkhoznadzor head, told ITAR-TASS on Tuesday, August 20, that the Service "is ready to lift the restrictions and allow British companies to supply variety meats to Russia. Last year we allowed supplies from one British company."

"Having considered the submissions and accepting guarantees of the UK national veterinary services, the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Control of the Russian Federation found it possible to remove the time limits on the supply of products from UK 5513 (a beef producer) and UK 8216 (a lamb producer) to the Russian market. In February this year, enterprises were inspected by Rosselkhoznadzor experts. As for the other companies tested in the same period, the decision will be made after the detected shortcomings are eliminated and the interest in the supply of products to the Russian Federation is confirmed. The ban on export to the Russian Federation from the UK of variety meats was imposed in 1996 as a result of the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in the UK cattle heard," the Russian Embassy in Britain said in December 2012.

At the meeting in Moscow on August 21, Nepoklonov and Gibbens will also discuss the possibility of lifting time limits for the import of cattle by Russia, which were imposed after an outbreak of Schmallenberg virus in the EU. Separately will be discussed the powers of the UK veterenary service to exercise veterinary control on the border when controlled products are brought into Britain.

On February 1, 2013, Russia imposed temporary restrictions on the import of cattle from Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain, and France following an outbreak of Schmallenberg virus there. Prior to that, on January 17, the Russian authorities had imposed similar restrictions on supplies of live small cattle, its meat, variety meats, sperm and embryos from Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, where calves and lambs had been born with fatal deformities. The virus found in them was called Schmallenberg virus after the name of the German town where it had first been detected.

Rosselkhoznadzor said similar measures would be taken with regard to cattle supplies from other European countries where the virus is detected.


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