WASHINGTON – There are indications the outstanding issues preventing trade of U.S. poultry to Russia to resume are close to being resolved, now that Russia’s Veterinary Service (V.P.S.S.) lists 21 U.S. poultry plants on its Web site as being approved to export to Russia, according to the Aug. 27th edition of the National Chicken Council Washington Report. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service currently lists 27 poultry plants and 60 cold storage facilities as approved establishments for poultry to export to Russia.

In recent weeks one issue being addressed was the need to have the so-called letterhead certificate to be identical on both the V.P.S.S. and F.S.I.S. Web sites. The version of letterhead certificate on the V.P.S.S. Web site has certain differences, but officials from the Russian Ministry of Agriculture have indicated to the U.S. Agricultural Counselor in Moscow that the differences are being addressed.

V.P.S.S. has indicated the 21 plants listed on its Web site could begin packing poultry for Russia effective on the date the plant is posted on the V.P.S.S. Web site. V.P.S.S. first began to post approved U.S. plants on Aug. 16.

Until all outstanding issues have been fully addressed, companies exporting to Russia should exercise care and consider the business risks involved in moving forward with packing poultry, U.S. government officials caution.

Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Agricultural Counselor in Moscow have responded to Russia’s Ministries of Health and Agriculture regarding the Salmonella issue with table eggs. U.S. hens laying table eggs are separate and distinct from broilers. Since there is no contact between these types of poultry, there is essentially no opportunity for a Salmonella incident in table eggs to cross over to broilers, Russian officials were told.