Russia bans pork from Canada, UK due to flu virus

Tue May 5, 2009 5:39am EDT
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By Aleksandras Budrys

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has extended its ban on imports of live pigs and raw pork to include the United Kingdom because of fears about the spread of a deadly flu virus, the country's chief veterinarian said on Tuesday.

"We have added another European Union country, Great Britain to the banned list," Nikolai Vlasov told a news briefing.

He added that the ban was a formality, as the United Kingdom currently was not exporting pork to Russia because of another ban imposed due to foot-and-mouth disease.

Earlier on Tuesday, Rosselkhoznadzor animal and plant health watchdog said it had also banned live pigs and raw pork imports from the Canadian province of Alberta.

Vlasov said more bans were possible and they could be applied to entire countries, or their regions depending on the velocity with which affected countries divulge information about the discovery and the spread of the virus.

An outbreak of the virus, also known as swine flu, has started in Mexico and new cases have been announced across the world, keeping alive fears of a possible pandemic.

Russia has already banned pigs and raw pork from the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Ontario and Spain.

Russia has banned imports of all meat including pork, beef and poultry from Mexico, where the outbreak started, Central American and Caribbean countries and the U.S. states of California, New York, South Carolina and Texas.   Continued...

<p>Jurgen Preugschas, President of the Canadian Pork Council, pauses during a news conference on biosecurity protocols in Alberta in Edmonton May 4, 2009. REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber</p>