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Everyone knows American health standards in meat production leave something to be desired. But it's the sort of issue generally raised by groups like PETA or the Humane Society and not, say, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who today personally and emphatically demands that the U.S. improve practices in poultry. Reuters reports:

SNEGIRYOVKA, Russia (Reuters) - Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned Thursday Moscow will find alternative poultry import sources if the United States, Russia's top supplier, does not observe new safety rules.

The comment adds to challenges that experts from the two countries would have to overcome at talks next week.

Washington has said new Russian measures would have a "devastating impact" on the U.S. poultry industry and trade, and raise the costs of poultry products for Russian consumers.

U.S. poultry exports to Russia are substantial, valued at over $800 million in 2008 alone. A particular point of contention Putin raised is the standard American practice of treating meat with chlorine, which Russian officials have banned as a health risk.

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