Sanderson CEO unsure of progress with Moscow

Remains ‘neutral’ on whether Russia will resume U.S. poultry imports

In light of recent comments by Russian officials that progress has been made in U.S. poultry import talks, Joe Sanderson of integrated chicken company Sanderson Farms says he is “neutral” about whether Russian policy will change, according to Reuters news service.

Russia was the number-one export market for U.S. poultry until this year, when Moscow restricted the use of chlorine washes in poultry processing. Chlorine rinses are used throughout the U.S. poultry industry to remove pathogens from poultry carcasses.

Chief Executive Officer Sanderson said his company is testing a chlorine-free rinse, but it is unclear whether Russia will approve the agent. He added that exports to Russia made up only 2% of his company’s sales in 2009, but Sanderson Farms would be seriously affected if Russian restrictions lead to too much dark chicken meat on the American market and a corresponding fall in price.

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