However, the authority said restrictions would only be lifted if previously identified violations at the meat processing plants had been eliminated.
“In early 2014, Rosselkhoznadzor plans to conduct an inspection of the meat processing enterprises in Paraguay, which were the subject of recent restrictions, and may lift the ban on the supply if it is confirmed that the violations have been eliminated,” said Rosselkhoznadzor press secretary Alexei Alexeenko.
The temporary restrictions on the Paraguayan companies were introduced in response to repeated detections of residues of prohibited substances in meat products coming to Russia. The restrictions, due to last 60 days, were implemented at the end of December. Details of the violations were brought to the attention of Paraguay’s Veterinary Service, which has since claimed that the processing companies have addressed the problems.
Scale of the restrictions
It is unclear what impact the restrictions have had on total Russian imports from Paraguay, Some officials claim Russia has reduced imports from Paraguay by 76% since the ban.
However, Rosselkhoznadzor head Sergei Dankvert denied this, saying the restrictions “were not something outstanding and affected only the small part of meat imports”, but the agency had previously confirmed that the six meat processing plants accounted for more than half of total Paraguayan exports to Russia.
Russia is the largest importer of meat from Paraguay, purchasing about 70% of all exported beef, and a significant amount of pork from that country. In November 2013, Russia purchased 103,000 tonnes (t) of meat from Paraguay, worth approximately US$520m. During 2012, Russia imported 1,000t of pork from Paraguay at a total cost of about US$3m, which made it the largest purchaser of this type of meat from that country.