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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Watchdog Ends Swine Flu Meat Ban

MOSCOW — Major meat importer Russia will from Oct. 15 lift all remaining meat import bans related to the H1N1 virus as the risk of infection through food products is low, its animal and plant health watchdog said on Wednesday.

The country was widely criticized for the bans earlier this year, with the World Health Organization and several others saying there was no link between the spread of the virus — also known as swine flu — and
properly cooked meat.

The last remaining bans to be removed apply to live pigs and raw pork imports from Britain and three Japanese prefectures, as well as a tougher ban on all types of meat from Mexico, all Central American and some Caribbean states.

"As this disease is spreading on Russian territory from human to human, the risks of its propagation by infected food products should be seen as negligible," Rosselkhoznadzor said in a statement.

The watchdog said it would no longer impose bans on meat imports linked to the discovery of the virus in humans, but it may impose new bans if the virus was found in animals in exporter countries.

Russia, worried by the spread of the H1N1 strain of the virus started banning meat exports from various countries in April. Most of the bans have been lifted gradually.

Rosselkhoznadzor in August lifted a ban on meat imports from Florida, the last remaining U.S. state on which restrictions had been imposed over fears of the virus.

Russia has registered several hundred cases of the H1N1 virus in humans, Rosselkhoznadzor said.

(MT, Reuters)