Russia Threatens to Ban Animal Products from EU

Russia cites Bulgarian and Romanian lax animal health standards.

Russia told the European Union that it will ban all animal products exported from the EU unless it becomes convinced that animal health standards in Bulgaria and Romania meet its expectations.

Philip Tod, spokesman for the EU, says the ban would start Jan. 1. He also denies the necessity of Russia's threats.

"They cited concerns relating to the accession of Bulgaria and Romania," Tod says. "We would not regard such a measure as justified or necessary or certainly not proportionate because the E.U. has taken all necessary measures to ensure the protection of animal health and food safety status of the E.U. with regards to the accession of Bulgaria and Romania."

Sergei Yastrzhembsky, Russia's EU envoy, did not mention a ban on EU meat during a Friday news conference, although Russia's Veterinary and Phytosanitary Control Service confirmed the warning, Russian news agencies say.

"There exist norms and rules that...are accepted by both Russia and the E.U. in this sphere; they (Bulgaria and Romania) must take upon themselves those responsibilities that are common for everyone without exception," Yastrzhembsky says.

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