Russia lifts, softens flu meat bans on U.S., Canada

Wed Jul 1, 2009 10:11am EDT
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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has lifted a ban on meat imports from the U.S. states of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Michigan, and from Canada's Quebec province due to the improved situation surrounding the H1N1 virus.

Russia's animal and plant health watchdog has also softened a ban on the U.S. state of Illinois and Canada's Ontario province, applying the restrictions only to imports of live pigs and uncooked pork, a statement by the watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor, seen by Reuters on Wednesday, said.

Major meat importer Russia applies two types of ban arising from fears of the flu spreading.

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

A ban on imports of all types of meat is applied to Mexico, Central American and Caribbean states, as well as the U.S. state of Wisconsin.

The ban is also applied to all raw and cooked meat products which may be carried in the personal luggage of passengers and crew, as well as to food served on board airplanes and ships which have stopped in these states.

A softer ban on imports of live pigs and raw pork is applied to the U.S. states of Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah, Canada's Ontario, the whole of Britain and the Japanese prefectures of Osaka, Hyogo and Shiga.

(Reporting by Aleksandras Budrys; editing by James Jukwey)