EUROPEAN EXPERTS CONFIRM RUSSIA'S FEARS ABOUT POLISH MEAT - MINISTER
(Interfax News Agency Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) MOSCOW. April 27 (Interfax) - Research carried out by European experts confirms Russia's fears about the safety of meat imported from Poland, Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev told journalists on Friday.
"In addition to the conclusions of our inspectors, we have received information from the European association for forwarding, transport, logistic and customs services [CLECAT] of cargoes showing that dangerous products could find their way to the Russian market," he said.
Citing research carried out by CLECAT, Gordeyev said 20% of the meat that was prepared to be shipped to the Russian market from Poland in the first quarter of 2007 was either banned or illegal. "In particular, buffalo meat brought in from Latin America already had fake European veterinary certificates and was marked as high-quality beef of well-known Polish and European producers," he said.
"And when people tell us that these are risks that exist in international trade, I reply: if we're talking about people's health, one percent [of dangerous or counterfeit meat] is enough to suspend supplies and start looking into the matter," he said.
Commenting on the prospects of the Russia-EU agreement on strategic partnership, Gordeyev said "the strategic agreement needs to be signed and worked with."
CLECAT works in 28 European countries and has more than 20,000 members. It accounts for 95% of customs registration for cargoes.
Russia banned imports of Polish agricultural products in the
of 2005 over what it sees as violations by Poland of veterinary
andphytosanitary standards, including re-exports of meat from countries imports from which banned in Russia. Poland in response blocked the beginning of negotiations between the EU and Russia on a new cooperation and partnership agreement.
After Russian-Polish negotiations on settling the dispute ended unsuccessfully, Russian Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev and European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection Markos Kyprianou agreed in Berlin in mid-January that Russia would continue the talks not with Poland but with the European Commission. However, even these talks on March 12-13 proved fruitless.
Copyright 2007 Interfax News Agency. Source: Financial Times Information Limited.
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