CHICAGO, March 23 (Reuters) - Russia's ban on chicken from three U.S. plants is under investigation by U.S. officials, but the action should not affect chicken purchases from other U.S. chicken plants, U.S. government and chicken industry officials said on Monday.
The U.S. Agriculture Department and Russia said the bans were in reaction to antibiotic and anti-parasite substances in the meat. It was not known how long the bans will be in place, USDA said.
"Russia delisted three U.S. poultry establishments due to drug residue findings. FSIS has requested information from Russia. We will then work with the establishments to determine if in fact the antibiotics and anti-parasitics were used and will then take appropriate actions," Bryn Margaret Burkard, spokeswoman at USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), told Reuters on Monday in an email.
Russia is the largest importer of U.S. chicken and USDA said last week that country had banned chicken imports from the plants beginning on March 27.
"The fact that it is only three plants indicates that as far as we know it is not a harbinger of anything bigger," said Richard Lobb, spokesman for the National Chicken Council. "It should not have any impact on trade."
The three plants are Peco Foods Inc's chicken plant in Canton, Mississippi; Sanderson Farm Inc's (SAFM.O) plant at Hammond, Louisiana, and Tyson Foods Inc's (TSN.N) Cumming, Georgia, facility.
Last week, Tyson said it will ship chicken to Russia from its other plants and "the suspension of the Cumming facility should not affect our overall international sales." (Additional reporting by Christopher Doering, Washington, and Robin Paxton, Moscow; editing by Lisa Shumaker)