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Russia halts U.S. pork imports from nine plants

Friday, January 30, 2009

Russia has stopped imports from nine U.S. pork plants
Russia has stopped imports from nine U.S. pork plants

Russia is refusing to take meat from nine U.S. pork plants because of what the U.S. Department of Agriculture is calling a clerical error.

Plants affected by the suspension include Smithfield Food's Tar Heel, North Carolina facility which is the largest pork plant in the world and two plants owned by Cargill Meat Solutions.

Industry analysts believe Russia's import ban on the plants is really motivated by politics rather than a paperwork error.

"They can't afford [U.S. pork] anymore and they are trying to find political cover to reject imports which they can't really afford," Peter Adams, principal with PNM Trading told Reuters.

Russia has become one of the largest exports for U.S. pork over the years with $312 million worth of meat being sent to the country through November last year, J. Patrick Boyle, chief executive of the American Meat Institute told the news provider.

In December Russia suspended imports from six U.S. pork facilities after saying the meat did not meet the country's requirements. The move was seen by some industry experts as a way for the country to slow imports after it announced it would reduce poultry and pork imports in 2009.ADNFCR-2034-ID-19002207-ADNFCR

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