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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tougher Rules Placed on EU Meat Imports

Russia, after recalling its animal health inspectors from the European Union, threatened on Friday to suspend meat imports from some EU countries unless Brussels provides additional quality control guarantees.

The country's animal and plant health watchdog said in a statement that it had asked veterinary services from several EU countries to increase control over exports to prevent violations of Russian safety standards.

"Despite this, some shipments of products of animal origin imported to Russia from Europe in 2007 did not match Russian veterinary standards," the agency said.

The watchdog sent a letter to the European Commission requesting it present by March 31 plans for monitoring residues of dangerous and banned substances in live animals, products and feed. It also requested the results of monitoring last year.

"If the requested data are not provided by some EU countries, the watchdog will be forced to suspend shipments of products of animal origin from these countries," the agency said.

The agency's head, Sergei Dankvert, said Monday that Russia had recalled animal health inspectors from 12 EU countries after the EU had guaranteed safety of food exports.

He added that, after the return of the inspectors, Russia intended to toughen control over imported food at the country's borders and could impose wider bans on countries with outbreaks of animal disease.

Dankvert said Friday that Moscow also intended to recall inspectors from some Latin American countries and to apply more punitive measures to farms, factories and companies found shipping unhealthy food to Russia.

"We will be crossing the violators of our standards off the suppliers' list. We are a big importer and we will always be able to find substitutes," Dankvert said.

The agency said in the statement that some European suppliers last year supplied Russia with meat products unfit for human consumption as their storage period had expired or they were tainted with dangerous bacteria.

Meat and plant product safety has soured relations between Russia and the EU for several years since the bloc started adopting new members through which, Russia has said, products of doubtful origin could be shipped.