Russia's food safety and sanitary watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor will ban cattle imports from all European Union (EU) countries as of March 20, following the spread of the highly virulent Schmallenberg and Bluetongue viruses.

"Rosselkhoznadzor considers it necessary to inform market participants about the decision to suspend cattle and small livestock and pigs imports from the EU from March 20," says the watchdog group.

The service will impose the ban owing to a failure by the EU sanitary agencies to provide the Russian watchdog with information about the animal epidemic, countermeasures, and antidote researches.

"Taking into account the situation in Europe with the viruses, Russia applies basic precautions which fully meet the requirements of the World Trade Organization as if our country was a full member. We eliminate any risks because there can be risks," says Sergi Yushin, Russia's National Meat Association head.

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