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Russia Bans Imports of European Beef Products Over Anthrax Fears

Russia's state food safety watchdog banned imports of a range of beef products from ten European countries.

Citing cases of anthrax in German beef, Russia's state food safety watchdog on Wednesday banned imports of a range of beef products from ten European countries.

The Federal Consumer Protection Service announced the ban in a statement on its website, where it said that its German counterpart had discovered anthrax in products such as beef sausage, roasts and diced beef on sale in German stores.

Meat contaminated with anthrax, a bacterial disease that when transmitted to humans can cause severe skin ulcerations and respiratory collapse, was first discovered on a farm in Slovakia in September, after which two further incidents were recorded in Poland, the statement said.

Infected meat and meat products were then delivered to Belgium, Denmark, Slovakia, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Poland and Germany, according to the EU's Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed, the statement said.

The consumer protection service has now suspended imports of beef products from all 10 of these countries. No incidents of anthrax infection in humans have yet been reported, it said.

Russia has already banned imports of whole cuts of beef, as well as other meat and food products, from countries — including EU member states — that have imposed sanctions on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.

The ban has impacted Russian consumers as well as foreign importers. Combined with the rapid devaluation of the ruble, the ban could raise year-on-year inflation to between 8.5 and 8.7 percent this year, Andrei Klepach, chief economist at state development bank VEB, told Gazeta.ru on Wednesday.

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