Russia toughens meat ban on Ontario

Tue May 19, 2009 10:14am EDT
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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has banned all meat imports from the Canadian province of Ontario for fear of the H1N1 flu virus, animal and plant health watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said on Tuesday.

Previously, the province was subject to a softer ban applying only to imports of live pigs and raw pork.

The spread of H1N1 flu, commonly known as swine flu, is not caused by pigs and pork, but countries have reacted to the name.

Major meat importer Russia currently has a ban on imports of all meat from Mexico, Central American and Caribbean states, as well as the U.S. states of Arizona, California, Illinois, New York, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.

A softer ban on imports of live pigs and raw pork has been applied to the U.S. states of Massachusetts and Michigan.

The same ban applies to the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Nova Scotia, as well as Britain and the Spanish provinces of Barcelona, Seville and Valencia.

(Reporting by Aleksandras Budrys)