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Cablegate: Agmin Demands Additional Inspections As

VZCZCXYZ0003
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #3735/01 3590611
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 240611Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC PRIORITY 5418
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1341
INFO RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA 4698
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 5250

UNCLAS MOSCOW 003735

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

USDA FAS FOR OCRA/KUYPERS; OSTA/HAMILTON, BEAN
PASS FSIS/HARRIES, DUTROW
PASS APHIS MITCHELL
STATE FOR EUR/RUS,
STATE PASS USTR FOR MURPHY,FIELD,CHATTIN,HAFNER,
KLEIN
BRUSSELS PASS APHIS/FERNANDEZ
VIENNA PASS APHIS/TANAKA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD ECON WTO RS
SUBJECT: AGMIN DEMANDS ADDITIONAL INSPECTIONS AS
A CONDITION FOR RELISTING PORK AND POULTRY PLANTS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

1.(SBU) SUMMARY: The Russian Federal Veterinary
and Phytosanitary Surveillance Service (VPSS)
responded to the U.S. request for the
justification for the recent delisting of 19 pork
and 19 poultry plants via official letter dated
December 19, 2008 (transmitted on December 22,
2008). The letter included 32 pages detailing
the deficiencies for each plant. However, the
letter fell short of the U.S. request for the
specific reasons for delisting each plant and how the
plants were in violation of the acts of
inspection or the export certificate. The letter
also stipulates that these 38 plants may only be
relisted based on joint audits of the plants and
visits to farms. This demand is not consistent
with our 2006 bilateral agreement on plant
inspections which gives USDA the authority to
relist plants.

2. Begin Text.
Moscow, December 19, 2008
# F?-?B-2/12948

TO: Deputy Administrator
Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)
USDA
Dr. Ronald Jones

Dear Dr. Jones,

The Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary
Surveillance Service shows regard for the USDA
Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and
communicates the following.

Fulfilling the agreements reached at negotiations
held December 17-18, 2008 in Moscow, we are
providing you with the information on
inconsistencies detected in the course of joint
audits of the US pork (19 plants) and poultry (19
plants) manufacturing and storage facilities
conducted by VPSS and FSIS specialists in 2008.

At the negotiations, VPSS pointed out to FSIS at
the failure to implement liabilities that the US
side had accepted to comply with the Russian
veterinary and sanitary requirements and
regulations when supplying products regulated by
the federal veterinary surveillance agency to the
Russian Federation.

In accordance with the agreement reached in 2006,
and as requested by the US side, VPSS gave FSIS
the right to certify the US plants on its own
account for whether the plants met the Russian
veterinary and sanitary requirements and
regulations in full, which was followed by VPSS
including those plants into the list of exporters
to the Russian Federation. In the performance of
this work, FSIS confined itself to submitting
declaratory statements to VPSS that were not
confirmed by any documents regarding reviews
conducted at the US plants to verify the
compliance with the assurances.

The following was detected during 2007-2008
random inspections of meat and poultry processing
plants certified by FSIS: absence of FSIS plant
certification reports (acts); plants did not have
the Russian veterinary and sanitary requirements;
there were no documents to serve as the basis
for issuing veterinary certificates (documents to
confirm disease-free status of the locality and
the farm supplying slaughter animals and poultry,
and also lab test results for products intended
for the Russian Federation tested in accordance

with SanPiN specifications).

In spite of urgent requests from VPSS
representatives to grant them an opportunity to
visit farms that supply slaughter hogs and
poultry with intent to carry out full assessment
of the system of veterinary control effective in
the US for the entire livestock production system
starting from a farm, such opportunity was not
provided by the US side to the Russian
inspectors.

In the meantime, violations of the Russian
veterinary legislations in shipments of livestock
products from the USA to Russia continue.

VPSS territorial directorates detect a
considerable number of violations in 2008 as
compared with 2007 during veterinary border
monitoring of livestock shipments arriving from
the USA.

Monitoring of various types of meat and meat
products imported from the USA into the Russian
Federation constantly discover residues of
antibiotics, coccidiostatics, toxic elements, as
well as salmonella and e.coli group bacteria
contamination. In this connection, VPSS had to
impose temporary restrictions on meat shipments
to Russia from 25 US plants, and also an
intensive monitoring was initiated over shipments
arriving to the Russian Federation from 7 US
plants as a result of single lab tests.

The above-mentioned information has been reported
to FSIS in a timely manner and on more than one
occasion, however no measures to improve the
situation have been taken to this day. At
negotiations on December 17-18, 2008, the US
delegation confined themselves to declarations
stating that the current US national food safety
system was highly efficient. There was no
information provided concerning the intentions of
the US side to improve the existing situation.
As for the request of the US side to lift the ban
on livestock product shipments from the USA to
the Russian Federation from 19 pork plants and 19
poultry plants, we confirm that the issue of
whether these plants can be relisted in the list
of the US plants eligible to export their
products to the Russian Federation may be
considered only in accordance with any findings
of the plants? joint audit and visits paid to
farms that supply slaughter animals, which VPSS
is ready to conduct in February of 2009.

In view of the above, VPSS has to note one more
time that there are systemic violations in
activities of the US federal veterinary service
to monitor meat exports to the Russian
Federation, with the result that assurances
declared by FSIS in veterinary certificates are
not fulfilled.

We ask you to urgently submit to VPSS the 2007-
2008 FSIS plant certification reports (acts) for
the plants to be included by VPSS to the list of
US plants eligible to export their products to
the Russian Federation. We will appreciate the
timely information on reasons why the US plants
that were delisted twice from the list of US
exporters eligible to export their products to
the Russian Federation fail to comply with the
Russian requirements, and are again relisted by
FSIS.

Doctor Jones, accept my assurance in the deepest
respect.

Attachment: 32 pages.

Deputy Head
N.A. Vlasov

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