(In third paragraph, corrects to say Russia was once the destination for 40 pct of Brazil’s pork exports, not meat exports)
By Polina Devitt and Ana Mano
MOSCOW/SÃO PAULO, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Russia’s agriculture safety watchdog said on Wednesday it would allow imports of beef and pork from nine Brazilian plants beginning on Thursday, ending an 11-month ban triggered by concerns about the safety of their meat products.
Russia’s Rosselkhoznadzor had placed temporary restrictions on imports of pork and beef products from Brazil in 2017 over the alleged presence of the feed additive ractopamine, which is permitted in Brazil but banned in Russia.
Those plants now cleared for shipments to Russia - once the destination for 40 percent of Brazil’s pork exports - include one operated by Minerva Foods and another by leading privately owned food processor Aurora Alimentos.
A list on the food safety agency’s website still shows a total of 32 Brazilian plants temporarily restricted from exporting meat products to Russia.
Moscow has not discussed the possibility of expanding the decision to other plants yet, the watchdog said.
The Russian agency said it decided to lift the restrictions after Brazil provided guarantees of the safety of Brazilian meat products, including results of its investigation and details of measures taken to eliminate detected irregularities.
Shares in Minerva, one of Brazil’s largest meatpackers, rose 6.5 percent to 5.40 reais.
BRF SA, Brazil’s largest pork processor by capacity, was the biggest gainer of the benchmark Bovespa index, up 4.59 percent in mid-afternoon trading, although its plants still show up on the Russian watchdog’s website as “temporarily restricted.”
Minerva, Aurora Alimentos and BRF did not immediately reply to requests for comment. (Reporting by Polina Devitt in Moscow and Ana Mano in São Paulowriting by Denis Pinchukediting by Kirsten Donovan, Bill Berkrot and Leslie Adler)