U.S. poultry processors have been given the green light from federal officials to begin shipping poultry to Russia, after a six month ban, but conversion to antimicrobial treatments that are acceptable to the country may take some time, Meatingplace reported yesterday.

Processors were notified about the development on a conference call last Friday with industry groups and government officials including Chief Agriculture Negotiator Islam Siddiqui and USDA Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Jim Miller, Beth Krushinskie, director of quality assurance and food safety for Millsboro, Delaware-based Mountaire Farms told Meatingplace.

Carol Guthrie, spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office, told Meatingplace that USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will post a list of establishments approved for export on Friday.

Russia agreed to lift its ban on American poultry

after a meeting between presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev in

late June, but details of the export agreement were not finalized until

late last week.

The dispute began in mid-January, when Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called U.S. poultry unsafe for using chlorine as an antimicrobial treatment.  

“We haven’t seen any readiness to meet Russian standards on the part of some of our partners, mainly the companies from the United States,” said Putin in January. “If our foreign suppliers are unable or reluctant to meet our security requirements, we will use other sources.”

The dispute has been a major concern for the poultry industry, as Russia is the largest importer of U.S. poultry products.

The agreement between the countries listed three acceptable, alternative pathogen reduction treatments: cetylpyridinium chloride, hydrogen peroxidem and peroxyacetic acid, according to the American Meat Institute. While some processors may be ready to comply with the new processing requirements, other firms may take weeks to be ready to begin exporting.