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Russia stops attempt to import dodgy Polish beef

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KALININGRAD, April 22 (RIA Novosti) - The regional department of Russia's agricultural watchdog in the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad said Tuesday it had prevented imports of 19.5 metric tons of beef from Poland for safety breaches.

The ban on Polish meat was a major source of tension between Russia and Poland. In January 2008, Rosselkhoznadzor head Sergei Dankvert and Polish veterinary chief Ewa Lech signed a memorandum lifting the ban on Polish meat, imposed in 2005 over claims of low quality imports.

"During an inspection of a refrigerator truck carrying 19.5 tons of frozen boneless beef from Poland, our experts discovered that part of the cargo was inconsistent with the consignment note," Rosselkhoznadzor said in a statement.

The experts found approximately 900 kg (2,000 lbs) of beef packed in cardboard boxes, with inconsistent date stamps - the date of manufacture was shown as November 2006 and the expiry date as December 2006. However, the consignment note said the meat was produced this February.

The entire consignment was returned to the freight sender.

So far, only six Polish meat companies are entitled to supply Russia with beef and pork, nine with poultry, 20 with dairy produce and one with egg products. Four companies are entitled to store agricultural products prior to onward shipment to Russia.

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