The Russian Federal Service for Veterinary Supervision (Rossel’khoznadzor) has banned all imports of poultry and poultry products, effective immediately, because of violations of veterinary regulations, the Agriculture Ministry announced today (24 April).

In support of its decision, the ministry cited various examples of violations including products being imported without permission, discrepancies between shipments and accompanying documentation, fake products, failure to follow regulations on the storage of raw meat and attempts to import poultry products using fraudulent documents.

The Ministry of Agriculture said that it has withdrawn import permission for 2006 and that it will replace the existing system with a simplified procedure. In a statement released by its press service, the Ministry said “renegotiating permissions and the formulation of new permissions to import in 2006 poultry meat and products will be produced by the Rossel’khoznadzorom in a simplified order.”

The announcement comes one week after members of the Russian poultry producers union staged a protest outside the Trade and Economic Ministry in Moscow calling for limits of poultry imports. Earlier this month. Agriculture Minister Alexander Gordeyev had said that poultry imports would  be cut by around 30% in order to alleviate pressure on Russia’s domestic poultry industry.

Russia is currently the biggest export market for US poultry. It is unclear how long the ban will remain in effect.