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Putin Says He'll Ban Chicken from Some U.S. Plants

Just what the chicken industry needed right now: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Thursday told CNN that he's planning to ban imports from 19 U.S. chicken processing plants because of â€" get this â€" "health concerns."

putinSo far, the Russian government hasn't contacted any U.S. chicken producers or the federal government about the planned action. Nobody knows which plants or which companies Putin was talking about when he said the facilities had failed health and safety tests.

The chicken business, hard hit by soaring costs of feed and energy as well as by weak sales in the United States, has been buoyed somewhat by exports. Trouble is, Russia is the largest importer of chicken from the United States. Exports make up nearly a fifth of the industry's sales.

Of course, this is all political. You can tell because Putin said this is "not political."

Putin is peeved over the federal government's strong reactions to Russia's recent actions in Georgia.

Russia has done this kind of thing before â€" many times. . "There is very long history of Russia using health standards at plants to curb imports," Rich Nelson, an analyst at Allendale, told Reuters. Last year, Russia banned imports from about 30 plants, according to the National Chicken Council.

Russia is also threatening pork imports.