Sunday, May 27, 2007

Polish meat arrested in Germany - Is Russia finally right?

German law enforcement officials detained a truck with five tonnes of meat products, which was found to be below health standards (in other words rotten) originally coming from Poland, Russian informations service RIA Novosti reported on May 25th. The truck with the spoiled products passed unnoticed through German customs and was only stopped in Berlin, its final destination, where the meat was intended to be used in Turkish-type fast-food stands.

According to German officials the origin of the products is unknown, as the truck coming out of Poland had no accompanying documents for the Polish meat. German news portals have explained the situation of a truck passing through customs without on-board documents by stressing shortfalls in the level of customs and veterinary control within the EU.

For those who may not grasp the scale of hypocrisy the situation reveals, it must be noted that the EU has been backing Poland, which has opposed a ban from Russian regulatory agencies on exporting its meat-products into Russia since 2005. The same day that the truck with Polish meat was arrested EU Commission head Jose Manuel Barosso told a conference in Brussels:

"We believe there are no reasons for the ban. It's a discrimination. We don't feel it's fair," he added. "We in Europe have the highest consumer protection standards in the world. We would not allow Polish meat to be circulated in Europe if we thought it didn't respect those standards."

It is in part due to the meat conflict between Russia and Poland that the recent EU-Russia summit resulted in no treaties of cooperation being signed, as Poland issued a veto on any such agreements. Russia's position since 2005 centered on the fact that illegal meat of doubtful quality from Latin America was being routed through Poland for sale in Russia. Poland as well as some EU members have labeled Russia's protests as highly politicized, and have put doubts that quality problems with Polish meat or any meat circling through the EU could exist.

Apparently they do! Perhaps due to Russia closing its doors to such products, Polish food producers had to reroute these products to neighboring Germany. Not only does the issue reveal the apparent hypocrisy in the stance of the EU on Russia, but it reveals that EU has quality control problems of its own, which in terms of food products are worse than Russia's.

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