Russia has announced that it will no longer sell frozen poultry beginning in January 2011.

The transition has been in the works since 2008, according to Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare head Gennady Onishchenko. "[Freezing poultry] is an outdated and rough technology which leads to a loss of many of the useful qualities of meat," he said. Instead of freezing technology, according to Onishchenko, the poultry will be chilled in inert gas, which permits storage for up to 120 days.  

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Concerns are already being raised at this announcement. "I can hardly imagine a producer who would be happy with a ban on frozen poultry turnover," said Sergei Yushin, head of an executive committee at the National Meat Association. "Some consumers will be deprived of the product." Yushin also asserts that the technology for chilling poultry with inert gas does not exist.

As for U.S. chicken imports, Onishchenko said, "You are welcome to import poultry, but only chilled, not frozen." Poultry cannot be exported chilled. "It is a corporate decision made on the basis of analysis," said Onishchenko. "I have received loads of letters from governors who thank us and say that Russian producers can guarantee chilled poultry deliveries to consumers without deep freezing."