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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Restricts Georgian Meat

Russia has restricted imports of farm animals and raw meat from Georgia, where thousands of pigs have died in recent months of African swine fever, officials said Thursday.

The Federal Service for Veterinarian and Vegetation Sanitary Supervision did not specify in its statement whether the restrictions meant the products had been banned and when the limitations would be lifted.

In Tbilisi, Georgia's deputy agriculture minister said more than 20,000 pigs had died of the disease in the past three months and that trade in pork meat had been banned in some affected parts of the country.

African swine fever, caused by a virus and spread from warthogs to domesticated pigs by ticks, is endemic in southwestern Europe and most of southern Africa.

The watchdog also said Thursday that it was not satisfied by safety guarantees on meat imports from Brazil and was seeking supplies from other Latin American countries.

"A drastic increase of meat shipments in the last few years was not accompanied by an increase in the quality of the Brazilian veterinary service," the service said.

It added that a restricted number of Russian veterinary inspectors in Brazil had to control the safety of hundreds of thousands of tons of meat products, while Brazil had failed to introduce new veterinary certificates protected from forgery.

"The watchdog experts, while inspecting several Brazilian meat processing plants and refrigerators, discovered systemic violations, which raised questions about the efficiency of the Brazilian national veterinary service," it said.

Reuters, AP