MOSCOW – US poultry exports to Russia may be the latest casualty in a political feud between the United States and Russia. Tensions have been high between the two countries because of the conflict in Ukraine and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine last month.

Russia's list of restrictions on agricultural trade has grown to include grains, beef, fruit and California pistachios, according to news reports. The trade restrictions are in retaliation for sanctions imposed by the US and the European Union.

On July 31, Russia's phytosanitary and veterinary service said it detected tetracycline, an antibiotic, in four shipments of US poultry produced by Equity Group - Kentucky Division, JCG Foods of Georgia LLC and two facilities operated by Peco Foods Inc. The agency announced "enhanced laboratory control" of poultry products shipped from the companies that “committed violations.”

Exports of US poultry to Russia have declined compared to a year ago, Joe Sanderson Jr., CEO and chairman of Sanderson Farms, noted during the Stephens Spring Investment Conference in June.

“The volume in Russia is down 34 percent,” he said. “Last year, they were the number-one importer. Now Mexico is number one and Russia is number four. So I think, if they were buying at their normal rate, we would be talking about brisk, excellent export demand. But instead, we say it's adequate.”

Sanderson added that Russia is “very cautious and conservative.”