IN SHORT

US allows Slovak food imports

AGRICULTURE Minister Zsolt Simon reported that Slovakia is included on the list of countries that have permission to export foodstuffs to the US as of January 2005, the TASR news agency reported.

US inspectors visited Slovakia to inspect the agriculture and food-processing industries. Their decision to include Slovakia on the approval list is a sign of significant improvement in Slovakia's food safety, said Simon.

The Minister also said the EU is satisfied with Slovakia's agriculture industry. Last year Slovakia was one of five (out of 54) countries adjudged to have the best systems for ensuring food safety.

Cross-regional control is one reason for the system's effectiveness. For example, autonomous authorities from eastern Slovakia will check the quality of food products in the Bratislava region.

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