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Russia Unfazed by Food Sanction Prospects

Russia imported 1800 metric tons of meat and poultry last year, worth a total of nearly $5.9 billion, according to the latest customs data.

Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov said Friday that consumers would not feel any change if Europe and the U.S. ban food exports to Russia.

"We do not predict any major changes or deficit … there could be some hiccups, but in the mid-term I do not think that there will be any noticeable disruptions on shelves on account of the political developments occurring now around Russia," said Fyodorov, RIA Novosti reported.

Russia imported 1,800 metric tons of meat and poultry last year, worth a total of nearly $5.9 billion, according to the latest customs data. Russian businesses have invested heavily in developing domestic pig and poultry breeding in recent years.

Fyodorov also said that the bans Russia is regularly imposing on products from various countries are "normal" and should not be politicized.

"This activity happens every year, to a greater or lesser degree, due to the discovery of different pathologies and illnesses," Fyodorov said.

Russia banned imports of pork and live pigs from all European Union countries in late January after cases of African Swine Fever, a highly contagious disease which does not affect humans but is lethal to pigs, were reported in Lithuania.

The Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Inspection Service has said that it may also limit deliveries of fruit and vegetables from Poland if the country does not take additional food safety measures and provide the correct import documentation.

"We always have other countries and regions that can quickly begin deliveries of those products we predict a possible deficit in," Fyodorov said, adding that Russia could purchase foodstuffs from Australia, Brazil, Peru or Uruguay.

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