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By John Helmer, Moscow Russian pork farmers and producers told Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev last week that government action is stripping them of profitability, as the squeeze between the rising price of feed grain and the falling price of pork is killing the industry’s plan to expand domestic production and replace imports. In anticipation of [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow This is not the time of year when there’s much sympathy for the plagues in Egypt. If you are Jewish, there’s the lot the Pharaoh richly deserved — the gnats, flies, frogs, locusts, boils, etc. If you are Russian, there’s pseudomonas solanacearum Smith, the potato brown rot. This Egyptian plague is [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow For those with a taste for the burlesque, politicians speaking for the cash interests of the perishable food trade are hard to match. The smaller the politician’s country of origin, the louder the petomane, and the bigger the pratfall. Russia’s chief food inspector Gennady Onishchenko (left image) yesterday ordered the ban [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Gennady Onishchenko, the Russian government’s chief food inspector and head of the federal inspection agency Rospotrebnadzor, has ordered a ban on imports of vegetables, announcing: “we urge the population not to buy fresh vegetables from Germany and Spain. Buy Russian production.” But this time the notorious protectionist of Russian farm, food [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Man has been eating his best friend for at least 9,400 years – and that’s just in the US. In Russia, he’s been doing it for even longer. He’s still doing it.

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By John Helmer, Moscow Russian poultry producers hope to reduce next year’s poultry import quota to as little as 300,000 tonnes, with just 50,000 tonnes of US chicken legs for direct consumption. Before too long, the domestic growers are also hoping to start exporting Russian poultry abroad.

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By John Helmer, Moscow The threat of a total ban on the multi-billion dollar frozen chicken trade to Russia, commencing January 1, has been dropped by the head of Russia’s Trade and Inspection Agency (Rospotrebnadzor, RPN), Gennady Onishchenko. Just as he gave no reason for threatening the ban a few days ago, Onishchenko has given [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Gennady Onishchenko, the Russian government’s chief health inspector, has issued a new diktat, claiming that bottles of imported wine have been found to contain dibutyl phthalate. There’s a catch, though. Onishchenko’s spokesman refuses to say if he has also banned pencil erasers, plastic toys, and nail polish, all of which [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Gennady Onishchenko (picture) would flog a dead horse to protect domestic product market share against foreign imports, and that’s as good as protecting Russian consumer health, even better perhaps. Onishchenko saved Russians from the perils of Belarus milk last June and then in January he rescued the state from American [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Two chickens were lying side by side in the refrigerator case of a Moscow shop in the Soviet year of 1988. One, American, was plump and cheerful; the other, Russian, was scrawny and sarcastic. “I’m so much fitter than you,” said the American to the Russian. “Well, at least I [...]