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Russia suspends meat imports from five nations

MOSCOW, March 2 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's veterinary watchdog suspended meat imports from the United States, France, Germany, Brazil and Uruguay over salmonella concerns, a news release said Friday.

Examination of more than 200 metric tons of poultry, beef and pork from these countries in January revealed that the meat was infected with salmonella, the regulator said.

The Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Supervision warned earlier Friday that it would suspend imports of EU meat if the European Commission failed to provide certificates attesting to its quality.

Citing repeated deliveries of unsafe meat products to Russia from the EU in 2006, the watchdog proposed that each EU country submit plans for 2007 to monitor the levels of prohibited and dangerous substances in animals, meat products and feed, and to report on relevant monitoring for 2007.

The watchdog also said some meat deliveries from the EU "fail to meet Russian veterinary standards for 2007."

Russia's November 2005 ban on meat and other agricultural imports from Poland led the EU newcomer late last year to veto the launch of negotiations on a new trade and energy cooperation deal between Moscow and Brussels to replace the current partnership accord, which expires at the end of 2007.

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