Russia lifts German beef import ban

By Leah Vyse

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Bovine spongiform encephalopathy Russia

From February 1 Russia will resume pedigree beef trade with Germany
following the ban imposed five years ago during a bovine spongiform
encephalopathy (BSE) crisis in its cattle.

Speaking in Berlin Alexei Gordeyev, Russia's Agriculture Minister, told the press Russia would lift the ban on pedigree cattle imports at the start of next month.

Gordeyev revealed the decision to resume trade was the result of talks between Russia's Federal Veterinary & Phytosanitary Control Service and the German and French veterinary services.

Gordeyev said specific requirements for the cattle to be traded would be set out, for example the cattle must be young.

The minister told press in Berlin "We'll continue to exercise strict control over the cattle, even though the mad cow disease has been abating in Europe. Russia is one of he few countries where mad cow disease has not been reported."

The ban on the quality beef imports will gradually be lifted with Bavaria being the first area to resume trade.

Gordeyev also said imports of pedigree cattle from Holland, Hungary, Austria and Finland have resumed.

The removal of the ban will be welcomed in Russia as meat consumption there is growing rapidly due to the rise in disposable income; GDP is currently growing at a rate of 6.4 per cent and the government is aiming to double this figure by 2010.

And there are currently not enough cattle to meet demand, sparking fears that consumption habits may be forced to change.

In 2000, Russians ate around 40kg of meat per person and now they eat about 50-55kg. The government wants the average meat consumption, 40 per cent of which is currently made up of beef, to reach 70kg per person.

Related topics Processing & packaging

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