Russia blocks U.S. pork meat shipments

by Editor
Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The block includes a Smithfield Foods meat-processing plant, saying their products failed to comply with import requirements, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Following visits by Russian government officials in October as part of an annual audit, Russia, the fourth-largest buyer of U.S. pork, will not accept shipments from the plants after 15 December.

Smithfield, confirmed that one of the company's plants will be affected by the latest suspension. However, according to spokesman Jerry Hostetter these matters are always regarded as much more political than scientific.

The other meat-processing plants affected by the recent suspension are run by the Chicago Meat Authority and Amity Packing in Chicago, Farmington Foods in Forest Park, Illinois, and Abilene TX Foods in Jeffersontown, Kentucky. The suspended slaughterhouse was identified as Sioux-Preme Pork Products in Sioux City, Iowa.

In November, Russia said it planned to cut pork imp orts by 200,000 tonnes next year in an effort to boost domestic production. The country imported 162.2 million kilograms of U.S. pork this year through September, more than twice as much as the previous year.