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Russia Bans Australian Beef Over Growth Stimulant

Russia is restricting imports of Australian beef due to the presence of the growth stimulant trenbolone, the country's consumer protection watchdog said Tuesday.

Limits on chilled beef from Australia were imposed on March 31, while frozen beef imports will be restricted from April 7, spokesman for the Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Inspection Service, or VPSS, Alexei Alekseenko told Reuters.

"Basically this will mean restrictions on all [beef] imports [from Australia]," Alekseenko said, adding that Russia would continue to accept supplies which were already on their way.

In late January this year, the watchdog already banned the import of meat byproducts from Australia. Alekseenko did not provide further details on the additional restrictions, nor on how long they might last.

Australia is the world's third-largest beef exporter after the United States and Brazil and accounts for 5 percent of Russia's overall beef imports, news agency Itar-Tass reported.

Russia currently does not accept the majority of meat imports from the U.S. and the European Union, which have imposed sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Crimea.

The country is looking to Asia to compensate for a decrease in meat supplies from the U.S., European Union and Australia and could turn to Chinese pork and Indian buffalo meat imports, the VPSS said in March.

Material from The Moscow Times was included in this report.

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