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11:46
RUSSIAN BAN ON KANGAROO MEAT FROM AUSTRALIA TO TAKE EFFECT AUG 1

Moscow. July 31 (Interfax) - A Russian ban on imports of kangaroo meat from Australia will take effect on August 1, Alexei Alexeyenko, the press secretary for Russian food safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor, told Interfax.

Australian farmers, meanwhile, have said the ban could threaten the country with an environmental catastrophe.

Russia decided to ban kangaroo meat imports from Australia because of multiple violations of Russian veterinary and sanitary requirements. "At first, we banned imports from certain plants, but the situation didn't change and it was decided to stop imports from the whole country," he said.

According to the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies (IKAR), Russia imported about 7,500 tonnes of kangaroo meat in 2008. Imports were brought into Russia through Pacific ports.

Australian media claim the ban has farmers seriously concerned. Per the Weekly Times, AgForce sheep and wool president Brent Finlay said kangaroo harvesting and exporting would not be viable without the Russian market, which takes about 70% of exports. Kangaroos accounted for 30% of over-grazing pressure and, without harvesting, "kangaroo numbers will leap out of control," he said, the Weekly Times reported.

The Australian authorities are working on resolving this problem, the local media reported citing the Agriculture Ministry.

How long the ban remains in effect will depend to a large degree on the decision the Australian authorities make, Alexeyenko said, noting that Australia allows the presence of small amounts of bacteria in its food, while Russia does not.

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