The Russian government has caused unrest in the U.S. domestic pet food market by restricting pet food imports from the U.S. Starting in February 2021, the Russian veterinary watchdog Rosselhoznadzor said it had banned the import of feed and feed additives from multiple U.S.-based companies after undeclared and unregistered GMO components had purportedly been found in several product samples during routine investigations. Rosselhoznadzor also called on U.S. authorities to stop allowing export to Russia of feed products with no veterinary certificates confirming the absence of GMOs.
A source in the Russian veterinary system who wished not to be named explained that as of March 2, all feed and pet food imports from the U.S. had been technically blocked.
“Feed additives were the main target of these restrictions since Russia imports a lot of them from the U.S. Pet food is collateral damage,” the source said, adding that these restrictions have nothing to do with the sanctions introduced recently by the U.S. government against a group of Russian individuals on political grounds.
In 2020, the Russian pet food market’s size totaled 231.8 billion rubles (US$3.18 billion), according to Euromonitor International. Multinational pet food manufacturers Mars and Nestlé are the largest market players, although quite a few local producers have emerged during the past few years.