MOSCOW, April 01. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian authorities will ban all Australian beef imports from April 7, shutting access to producers using the artificial animal growth stimulant trenbolon, an aide to the head of Russia's consumer protection agency, Rospotrebnadzor Alexei Alekseyenko said .
Imports of beef by-products have been restricted since the end of January. Now, the ban has been widened to cover frozen meat imports. This reflected lack of confidence in documents issued by the Australian veterinary service, fraught with the risk that products banned for use in Russia would reach the domestic market, Alekseyenko said.
Russia's veterinary inspection service found a hormone-containing stimulant in beef delivered to Russia in February although Australia had pledged to stop the use of trenbolon in its exports. Chief of the Federal Service for Sanitary Supervision Sergei Dankvert said incidents of trenbolon had continued despite Australia's undertaking.
In mid-March, the consumer protection agency declared such incidents a breach of obligations by Australian producers. Cold beef, which Russian inspectors had not managed to screen for trenbolon, was banned from reaching Russia, now being followed by the total import prohibition.
Australia accounts for around 5% of Russia's overall imports of beef and beef products. Last year, Russia imported around 611,000 tonnes of beef from foreign exporters. Most comes from Latin America's Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.