25 U.S. senators have urged President Barack Obama in an open letter to end the Russian ban on U.S. poultry imports.
Russia banned chicken imports from the U.S. in January, citing food safety concerns. The senators sent a letter to the White House outlining their request in advance of a meeting between Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev this week.
They emphasised that internationally recognised science methodology has proven U.S. poultry to be safe and that current restrictions are unwarranted. The U.S. poultry producers were required by USDA to meet very stringent food safety standards, which helped them produce a safe and high-quality product, the senators wrote.
The letter goes on to say that the current economic climate has left many producers struggling and a continued absence from the Russian market, which is worth $800 million annually to American producers, would only increase the economic uncertainty our poultry farmers already face.
Over the last three years, U.S. poultry exports to Russia averaged more than $800 million in value, making Russia the single largest U.S. export market. The poultry industry represents over 500,000 jobs in the United States.
Source: USDA – United States Department of Agriculture