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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Firm on Meat Ban

Russia will only start allowing European countries to resume imports of meat and dairy products on a case-by-case basis 21 days after the last fresh outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease is reported, the nation's chief veterinarian Mikhail Kravchuk said.

Imports were indefinitely banned last month following fears that foot-and-mouth disease would spread into Russia.

Kravchuk defended the ban at a gathering of diplomats and food industry executives Friday and said that the 21-day limit had been picked because Russian scientists fixed that many days as the incubation period for the disease.

As soon as 21 days had elapsed after the last new case of foot-and-mouth in France, Ireland and the Netherlands, the ban would start to be lifted, he said, adding that goods from Britain would take more time to be cleared.

Attendees, clearly upset by the ban, retorted that Russia was not abiding by the guidelines of the World Organization for Animal Health, of which it is a member. The organization puts the incubation period for foot-and-mouth disease at 14 days and lists banned products such as fish, poultry and cheese as incapable of transmitting the disease.

Kravchuk countered that the free movement of goods in Europe made the ban necessary.

"We find this ban excessive," said Gilbert Dubois, deputy head of the EU delegation to Moscow.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev said the ban was likely to run only a few more weeks unless new cases of foot-and-mouth are reported.