(Adds Brazil agriculture minister comment, Brasilia dateline)
MOSCOW/BRASILIA, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Russia will place temporary restrictions on imports of pork and beef products from Brazil from Dec. 1, the country’s agricultural safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said on Monday.
Russia said last week it was considering a ban on all pork and beef imports from Brazil after finding the feed additive ractopamine in some shipments, an allegation Brazilian meat industry groups denied.
“Given the seriousness of the situation, Rosselkhoznadzor is forced to take urgent measures to protect Russian consumers and the domestic food market and introduce temporary restrictions from Dec. 1 this year,” the agency said in a statement.
Brazil Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi said that only a few companies were affected by the restrictions with the rest operating as usual.
“I do not consider this as a market closure, but something that happens regularly in inspections, which is what they are for,” Maggi told reporters in Brasilia.
He added that ractopamine was allowed in some countries, but not in Russia.
The ministry has procedures in place to ensure the additive is not present in Russia-bound shipments and would make corrections based on the observations of its Russian counterparts, Maggi said. (Reporting by Polina Devitt and Mateus Maia; writing by Jack Stubbs and Jake Spring; editing by Mark Potter, G Crosse)