By John Helmer, Moscow
The Russian government this week fired a new shot across the bows of New Zealand, one of the Obama Administration’s staunchest allies in the Pacific and on the Ukraine and Syrian warfronts.
Starting on Monday next, February 6, imports of New Zealand beef will be banned by the Russian Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor, RSN). The results of testing by RSN confirmed “numerous identifications of bacteria of the Listeria monocytogenes type.” In addition, traces of the prohibited hormone growth additive ractopamine had been detected in NZ beef offal. Accordingly, RSN said, it was commencing “temporary restrictions on deliveries to Russia of beef and beef offal from New Zealand”; the offal is a common ingredient in Russian sausage manufacture. The announcement from RSN added: “Rosselkhoznadzor also considers the possibility of entering of temporary restrictions on import from New Zealand to Russia of fish products, in connection with numerous identifications in consignments of New Zealand fish of bacteria of Listeria monocytogenes type, and higher than admissible levels of mercury.”
NZ lamb and mutton exports to Russia have not been mentioned by RSN, and are not affected for the time being.
The threatened ban on NZ fish is not new. The threat was first announced last October 5, days after the NZ prime minister at the time, John Key, issued a public insult to President Vladimir Putin, and attacked Russian policy in the Ukraine and Syria. Read the full story here.
Weeks later, on December 4 Key announced his surprise retirement. NZ press reports claimed that Key’s wife had forced the move, not Putin. (more…)