ShapeShapeauthorShapechevroncrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

Russia Resumes Imports of Irish Pigmeat

by 5m Editor
28 January 2010, at 10:01am

IRELAND - The Russian Federation has agreed to allow Irish pork imports again 14 months after they were banned because of the dioxin crisis.

Russia said it would reopen its market for pigmeat produced from 1 February. IrishTimes.com reports that when the market was closed in 2008, it was worth €12 million annually.

The announcement was made yesterday by Minister for Agriculture and Food Brendan Smith, who said this resulted from intensive work by his department, An Bord Bia and the Irish Embassy in Moscow. He said it represented clear recognition by the Russian Federation of the integrity of Ireland’s food safety controls.

“The maintenance of full access to markets worldwide is a priority for my department and, in conjunction with An Bord Bia, a particular effort has been made to ensure normalisation of trading.

“The manner in which the Irish and Russian Federation authorities have engaged over the past year has greatly assisted in this regard.“

The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) said the news was a welcome development and meant meat processors must now return pig producers to profitability with immediate effect as they claimed the loss of the market was depressing prices.

Bord Bia had signalled the lifting of the Russian ban earlier this month and said it expected China would follow in early 2010.

The value of pigmeat exports in 2009 fell by 15 per cent from €343 million in 2008 to €290 million last year. The recall of all Irish pig products, because of contamination of animal feed by toxin-laden oil from electricity transformers, has already cost the taxpayer here €100 million in compensation.

Following the publication of the inter-agency report on the crisis last week, Mr Smith was accused of handing over €23 million in compensation to processors for imported pork, contrary to the rules of the scheme.

Fine Gael’s spokesman on food Andy Doyle said the Minister had handed over €69 million to processors who were unwilling or unable to distinguish between home-grown or imported pigmeat. As approximately one-third of the production was imported, this amounted to €23 million to which the processors were not entitled under the compensation scheme.