Starting Sunday, Russia, the top market for US chicken exports, will be banning imports from at least 19 US poultry plants. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced the bans in an interview with CNN, citing what he said were ignored warnings about inspections.

“The inspection showed that many companies had not taken measures to remove flaws revealed during previous checks,” Russia’s agricultural regulator said in a news release.

The Russian Government also said the US uses too many antibiotics in chicken-rearing, and cited cases of salmonella found in recent imports.

Russia has imposed several temporary bans on pork and poultry from various US producers in recent years.

Plants affected include at least two owned by Tyson (the nation’s largest chicken producer), two from Sanderson Farms Inc. (the nation’s fourth largest chicken producer), a Jennie-O Turkey plant owned by Hormel Foods Inc., and other companies not named at this time. Read the rest of this entry »