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Cablegate: Russia Delists 2 More U.S. Poultry

VZCZCXYZ0015
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #2946/01 2771411
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 031411Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC PRIORITY 5381
INFO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0232
RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA 4663
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 5213

UNCLAS MOSCOW 002946

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

USDA FAS FOR OCRA/KUYPERS; ONA/MURPHY
- OSTA/HAMILTON, BEAN
PASS FSIS/HARRIES, DUTROW
PASS APHIS MITCHELL
STATE FOR EUR/RUS, EB/ATP/SINGER
STATE PASS USTR FOR PORTER
BRUSSELS PASS APHIS/FERNANDEZ
VIENNA PASS APHIS/TANAKA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD TBIO WTO RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA DELISTS 2 MORE U.S. POULTRY
PLANTS

REF: A) HANSEN/DUTROW EMAIL 10/02/08

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Russian Federal Veterinary
and Phytosanitary Surveillance Service (VPSS)
informed via official letter that it had delisted
2 U.S. poultry facilities after tests results
ostensibly revealed the presence of Salmonella.
Original scanned copy and courtesy translation
were sent to FSIS on October 2 (REF A). An
informal embassy translation of the letter
follows. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) BEGIN TEXT:
Moscow, October 01, 2008
No. FS-NV-2/9907

To: Dr. William James
Deputy Administrator of the USDA Food Safety and
Inspection Service (FSIS)

The Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary
Surveillance Service (VPSS) pays its respect to
the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service
(FSIS).

Salmonella was detected during routine monitoring
of banned and harmful agent residues in frozen
chicken leg quarters exported from the United
States to Russia. Laboratory tests confirmed the
presence of salmonella which is a violation of
the approved veterinary certificate requirements
for animal origin products intended for export to
the Russian Federation (laboratory test protocols
No. 18227(1-3)S of 08/28/2008; No. 18227A (1-3)S
of 09/04/2008; No. 19011 (1-3)S of 09/03/2008;
and No. 19011A (1-3)S of 09/10/2008).

The product originated from the U.S. facilities
P-17500 and P-3 under veterinary certificates
RFA-053553 of July 9, 2008 and RFA-031257 of July
16, 2008.

In view of these circumstances, VPSS informs that
temporary restrictions will be imposed as of
October 10, 2008, on export of products from
facility P-17500 to the Russian Federation. VPSS
requests that FSIS undertake a thorough
investigation and explain how Salmonella was
present in livestock products exported to Russia.
Furthermore we ask you to take appropriate
measures to avoid exporting products to the
Russian Federation that do not meet the approved
veterinary certificate requirements. VPSS would
appreciate materials related to the results of
your investigations.

At the same time, we would like to remind you
that in April 2007 (letter No. FS-EN-2/3637 of
April 20, 2007), VPSS imposed temporary
restrictions on the facility P-3 because of
salmonella found in exported product and asked
you to take measures to avoid such violations in
the future. In July 2007, VPSS experts, together
with FSIS officials, carried out a joint
inspection of the U.S. poultry facilities.

In October 2007 (letter No. FS-EN-2/10322 of
October 16, 2008) P-3 was excluded from the
approved list of the exporting facilities by VPSS
based on the results of the inspection that
revealed violations of the mutually approved
criteria, which U.S. meat processing facilities
must abide by to export products to Russia.

However, on January 28, 2008, in accordance with
the Agreement of November 2006, and based on FSIS
guaranties (letter of January 10, 2008), VPSS

again included P-3 to the list of the U.S.
facilities approved for export to Russia.

The new cases of salmonella detection in product
from P-3 referenced in this letter confirm that
FSIS guaranties are groundless regarding
compliance of the said facility with the approved
veterinary and sanitary requirements, which are
required for all facilities exporting meat
products to Russia. This was also confirmed
during the regular inspection of P-3 by VPSS
experts in July-August 2008. Based on the
results of the last inspection, P-3 was again
removed from the list of poultry meat facilities
approved for export to Russia (letter No. FS-NV-
2.9061 of September 09, 2008).

Doctor James, accept my assurances in the deepest
respect.

Attachment: 12 pages (not included in this
telegram)

Deputy Head

N.A. Vlasov

END TEXT.

3. (SBU) COMMENT: As post as repeated several
times, VPSS is building a case against FSIS to
show that it is incapable of ensuring that U.S.
meat and poultry meet Russian veterinary
regulations so that trade can be restricted when
deemed necessary. Post encourages Washington
addresses to seek higher-level intervention to
prod Russia into accepting international
scientific standards as called for by
international governing bodies such as the World
Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and Codex
Alimentarius. Russia's current zero-tolerance
level for food pathogens, like Salmonella, has no
scientific basis and is unrealistically strict
when dealing with animal carcasses. END COMMENT.
BEYRLE

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