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BrownfieldAgNews reports:

U.S. poultry exports could be caught-up in the sanctions battle between the U.S. and Russia. President Obama announced increased sanctions against Russian state-owned banks, oil companies and weapons makers this week.

They also target some close personal friends of Vladimir Putin. The European Union has agreed to go along with the sanctions in an effort to get Putin to reverse his policies in the Ukraine.

In what appears to be a thinly-veiled retaliation, Russia says it may ban imports of U.S. poultry and European fruit "due to contamination of the products" according to Russian state media. Russia will begin a risk assessment of U.S. poultry this week due to a salmonella outbreak earlier this year.

National Chicken Council (NCC) president, Mike Brown says, "A Russian ban on U.S. chicken would be scientifically unjustified and claims that the move is based on food safety are unfounded."

While they are U.S. second-largest customer for broilers, Russia accounts for about seven percent of total U.S. poultry exports.

Russia claims fruit from some European Union countries contained Oriental fruit moths so they may ban some products from some countries.

The government's food safety agency is also investigating cheese that McDonalds imported from Germany and the Czech Republic for "antibiotics and other questionable ingredients."

Here is the full statement from NCC president Mike Brown:

"A Russian ban on U.S. chicken would be scientifically unjustified and claims that the move is based on food safety are unfounded. Free and fair trade should not be used as a political bargaining chip.

"Food safety is the top priority for companies that produce and process chicken products in the United States, and the industry prides itself on delivering safe, affordable and wholesome food both domestically and abroad.

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service system for poultry processing and inspection is the best and safest system in the world.

"Americans eat about 160 million servings of nutritious chicken every day, and virtually all of them are eaten safely.

"The industry's voluntary initiatives, tens of millions of dollars in food safety research and continuous USDA inspection can be credited with bringing the prevalence of food borne pathogens on raw chicken to all-time lows.

"Through May 31 of this year, Russia is our second largest export destination for broilers in terms of volume (97,146 metric tons), and third in terms of value ($100.8 million). Historically, Russia in the mid-1990's occupied 40 percent of U.S. broiler exports; today the Russian market represents about seven percent of the chicken we export to more than 100 countries.

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