Russia blocks imports of American beef

The Russian government has temporarily blocked imports of American beef, said Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev in a meeting with journalists today. He added that the prohibition concerns all types of American beef products. The ban will remain in effect until the situation is cleared up in the US. 'The blocking of imports from the US should not impact prices on the Russian market,' he said.

In 2003, Russia imposed a quota on American beef in the amount of 17,200 tones per year. The county's entire import quota is 420 thousand tones.

The US administration announced yesterday that a cow in Washington state tested positive for mad cow disease or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, which eats holes in the brains of cattle. It was first detected in Britain in 1986 and spread through Europe and Asia, prompting massive destruction of cows and crippling the European beef industry. 3.7 million heads of cattle were destroyed in Britain alone. 137 people died from the disease. Ukraine, Japan, South Korea and Singapore also announced the blocking of American beef imports today.

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