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Significant Russian beef exports to Japan imminent

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According to Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, imports to Japan will be limited to beef that has undergone heat treatment in Japanese government-approved Russian factories. Imports of raw beef remain banned because of the risk foot-and-mouth disease continues to pose to cattle in Russia.

The agreement will also see Japan exporting jerky to Russia, although the details of these exports have yet to be agreed.

While the deal was initiated last December 2016, the formal decision establishing which Russian meat manufacturers could export to Japan was made after Japanese officials visited their plants in March.

No danger of pathogens entering Japan

At present export is only possible from two factories where Japanese officials have confirmed the conditions of the agreement are being met,” ministry official Takashi Matsumoto told GlobalMeatNews. “Because they have checked the heating methods in the factories comply with standards, I believe there is no danger of pathogens being brought into Japan.

The two beef producers are Kaliningrad-based Miratorg Zapad Ltd, a major Russian producer of meat to the hotel, restaurant and café segment, and Ratimir Ltd, a leading meat processing company in Vladivostock.

The heat treatment required by the Japanese ministry includes that the temperature at the centre of meat and meat products derived from cloven-hoofed animals (which have been completely deboned) must be kept at 70°C or higher for one minute or more by boiling or exposure to heated steam in excess of 100°C, or that the temperature at the centre of the meat and meat products must be kept at 70°C or higher for 30 minutes or more by heating in a water bath, drying in hot air or other cooking techniques.

Meat and edible meat offal exports from Russia to Japan, which international trade data suggest were worth a mere US$253,841 in 2016, are now predicted to increase. However, the ministry and the Russian Embassy in Tokyo could not release projections on the total anticipated trade volumes.

Meanwhile, Japan exported US$227,975 of meat and edible meat offal to Russia in 2016, according to international trade data.

The agreement builds on plans outlined by Moscow in July 2016 to increase the export of meat and grain to Japan. It also follows an announcement earlier this year by Alexander Tkachev, Russia’s Minister of Agriculture, to increase the country’s global meat exports to one million tonnes a year by 2020.

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