Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Frenzy Heats Up Over 'Mad Cow' Import Scandal

A scandal is heating up as new details are reaching the public about the illegal delivery in Russia of embargoed British beef, which could be infected with bovine spongiform encephalitis.

It became clear that the British company Safex Coldstore secretly shipped through the English Channel to the Dutch city of Vlissingen 1,650 tons of meat that was destined for the Belgian firm Trages Hel. Nine hundred tons were obtained by two French firms and sold to Russia, Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt and even Equatorial Guinea. The suppliers received subsidies for the agricultural exports, which are allowed within the limits of EU law.

The other 750 tons, as it became known though the appropriate service of the European Commission, were found in Vlissingen.

The contraband beef shipments began in January 1997 and continued until May. Strange as it may be, Russia was informed about it only on June 8. According to the EU commissioner on consumer rights protection, Emma Bonino, the entire history was kept secret in the European Union in order not to interfere with the investigation in which Interpol is participating.

How can we fully guard ourselves against the "mad cows" in the future? Experts believe there are two means, both of which are linked with big difficulties. The first is a complete refusal of such imports from the EU. But we can hardly afford to allow ourselves this. The second is to demand once and for all guarantees from the EU that the meat is not British and has not been clandestinely transported from Europe to Russia. This, however, would require introducing special certificates that would lead to the rise in price of imported meat in our homeland.

Izvestia, July 17.

Certified Beef

The scandal over the import of British beef under the guise of Belgian meat has not died out. In England, two companies that are suspected in the contraband export of meat have been closed down. At the request of the Russian Agriculture Ministry, Belgian officials are looking into the origin of the certificates that were issued for the dubious meat. Meanwhile, the Russian side has still not become fully acquainted with the secret report of the EU commission on the contraband meat. Despite this, ministerial officials and sausage producers are giving assurances in unison that you can eat meat without worry.

Kommersant Daily, July 17.

British Cutlets

New details have appeared on the scandal over the import of British beef into Russia through Belgium. One of the largest Moscow meat-processing factories, Kampomos, received 42 tons of such meat in March. There is every reason to believe that in this consignment there was beef that is infected by bovine spongiform encephalitis. Russian doctors say there is no reason for panic: There was too little meat brought in. But it should be noted that in Britain, 18 people have already died from bovine spongiform encephalitis.

The contraband meat was marked with stamps of two Belgian firms -- F-101 and F-829. Part of it then went to the Cherkizovsky and Biryulevsky meat-processing plants.

The deputy director of Astep, Bislan Gairabekov, told us that the firm had bought only 42 tons of Belgian meat this year. But it was under the very same stamp: F-101.

The meat was then sent to the Russian-Spanish meat processing factory Kampomos. The head of Kampomos, Yury Kovalyov, said the Belgian meat from Astep was received on March 12. He also said the factory processes 200 tons of meat each day, and therefore nothing of the infected batch remains.

Kommersant Daily, July 18.