On January 17, China Youth Daily reported that on January 1, 2010, the Resolution on the Production and Circulation of Poultry Meat issued by the Consumer Protection and Public Welfare Supervision Bureau of the Russian Federation officially came into force, which reduced the maximum chlorine content in poultry processing solutions from 200 mg per cubic meter to 50 mg. Onishchenko, the chief epidemic prevention engineer of the Russian Federation, explained that under high concentrations, chlorine deposits in food and forms harmful synthetic substances, which is an important reason for the Russian government to make this decision.
In fact, this new food hygiene standard, which was adopted as early as 2008, should have come into force on January 1, 2009. However, the Russian government, considering that domestic poultry meat producers need some "preparation time", postponed its entry into force to January 1, 2010. Youshen, the chairman of the executive committee of the Russian Meat Association, said recently that most relevant Russian enterprises had completed the equipment upgrading from "water cooling technology" to "air cooling technology" before the arrival of the "deadline". The proportion of "poultry meat without chlorine agents" produced by Russian enterprises in all domestic poultry meat has increased from 60% in 2008 to 90% at present.
Although the chicken produced by Russian enterprises has reached the new food safety standard, the "Bush drumstick", which has been popular in the Russian chicken market, is far from this standard. "Bush Chicken Leg" is a nickname for Russian people to import chicken from the United States. In the late period of the Soviet Union's reform, the national economic situation continued to deteriorate, and food supply was often short. In order to solve the problem of eating, then Soviet President Gorbachev signed a commercial agreement with President Bush of the United States on the import of chicken. The frozen chicken legs of the United States began to enter the Russian market as food aid. As soon as the American drumsticks were put on the Moscow counter, people lined up to buy them. Because people found that these American drumsticks are not only cheaper than local drumsticks, but also have more and fatter meat than Soviet era lean chickens. "Bush drumstick" got its name, which was a tribute to the elder Bush at that time.
However, over time, Russians found that there were not many quality problems with the "Bush Chicken Leg" and asked the United States to provide information such as the content of preservatives in chicken and the types of antibiotics contained in chicken feed. However, the United States has been "playing hard" with this. Therefore, in recent years, Russia has erupted a "trade war" with the United States every three or five times due to chicken quality problems. Even so, after years of painstaking efforts, the United States has become Russia's largest chicken importer. According to the statistics of the Russian Meat Association, in 2009, American chicken accounted for 22% of the Russian domestic poultry market, and 79% of Russian chicken imports in 2009 came from the United States.
It is also the position of the leader. While Russian enterprises took full advantage of the one-year "grace period" to timely implement equipment upgrading, American enterprises seem to be taking chances with the new food hygiene standards. At the end of August 2008, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced that the Russian government would remove the names of 19 American enterprises from the list of domestic chicken suppliers and give warnings to 29 enterprises because the spot check results of Russian epidemic prevention departments on the quality of American chicken were extremely unsatisfactory. Putin said: "This does not mean that the Russian government wants to prohibit American chicken from entering its own market. We want to prohibit those enterprises that have ignored the opinions of the Russian side for a whole year. We should protect the domestic market and domestic consumers. Many countries, including the United States, do this." However, the "lessons learned" of these 19 American enterprises did not attract the attention of other American chicken manufacturers. Some American experts even believe that despite the rapid development of Russian agriculture in recent years, it will take several years for domestic meat to completely replace imports. Therefore, Russia has no confidence to really say "no" to American chicken.
Until the last few days of 2009, American chicken producers still believed that Russia would not impose import restrictions on all chicken treated with chlorination. However, on January 1, 2010, Russia officially banned the import of chicken produced in the United States on the grounds of "failing to meet Russian food safety standards". Albert Davleyev, director of the representative office of the American Poultry and Egg Export Association in Russia, said that in 2010, the United States should have supplied 600000 tons of chicken, accounting for 77% of the total chicken imports of Russia that year. Now, all American chicken cannot enter Russia because of the "bottleneck of chlorine content restriction". For this reason, relevant American enterprises have consciously promoted American chicken in the markets of China, Ukraine and other countries.
As for the newly implemented food safety standards in Russia, senior officials of the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently emphasized that chlorination and antibacterial treatment of poultry has been used in the United States for more than 25 years. Chlorination is intended to eliminate the pathogens of chicken and help protect consumers. However, Russian media revealed that the US government had decided to send a delegation to Russia on January 17 to conduct serious consultations with Russia on the "chicken issue". Some Americans believe that Russia regards American chicken as a "political prisoner". Some Americans once advocated suing Russia under the WTO framework, but the Russians smiled and said, "Sorry, Russia is not a member of the WTO yet..."