EU Audits ASF Controls in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania

EU - Biosecurity measures in place in Poland, Latvia and Lithuania to keep African Swine Fever out of their respective countries were generally approved by the Food and Veterinary Office although it did find some deficiencies in regarding feed and livestock vehicle controls.
calendar icon 20 March 2014
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The Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) carried out audits in Poland, Latvia and Lithuania in October 2013, with the aim to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of the measures to prevent the introduction of African Swine Fever (ASF) in each country.

In terms of scope, each audit focused on the cleaning and disinfection of livestock vehicles and the detection of consignments of products of animal origin imported in passengers' luggage for personal consumption.

After the confirmation of an outbreak of ASF in Belarus and Russia, the audit in Latvia focused on the operational criteria to implement the requirements of (i) Commission Implementing Decision 2013/426/EU in relation to cleaning and disinfection of livestock vehicles and (ii) Commission Regulation (EC) No 206/2009 in relation to the consignments of products of animal origin imported in passengers' luggage for personal consumption.

The competent authorities involved in planning and implementation of measures against ASF in Poland and Latvia have established means for cooperation and coordination within and between them. Resources are available for the controls and planning takes into account the risk of introduction of the disease.

In Poland, FVO found there are no instructions for the officials.

The controls on the cleaning and disinfection of the livestock vehicles were generally carried out correctly for vehicles used to transport live animals in Poland and Latvia. However, in both countries, FVO found some some weaknesses in the documentary checks relating to these vehicles and those transporting feed.

Controls on vehicles for live animals are implemented in Lithuania. Vehicles re-entering the Union after delivering feed to animal holdings are not subject to the required controls, contrary to the requirements of the Decision, because the officials at the borders cannot identify them.

Also in Lithuania, documentary checks were implemented as required but some declarations received with insufficient data to guarantee that the livestock vehicles had been satisfactorily disinfected were accepted. However, FVO found that the risk caused by inadequate drivers' declarations being accepted is mitigated by the routine disinfection of livestock vehicles.

Physical checks are also implemented as required. There are no facilities or provisions for cleaning of those vehicles at the Lithuanian borders, so vehicles without the adequate cleansing are refused from entering.

An additional safety measure has been put in place in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, by means of which when a livestock vehicle re-enters the Union, the border inspection post notifies this entry to the local veterinary unit and the vehicle is banned from visiting holdings for 48 hours.

Controls of passengers' luggage were carried out correctly and records are kept as required in Poland and Latvia. The decision to increase those controls to all luggage reduces the risk of the illegal introduction of products of animal origin in passengers' luggage, and therefore the introduction of ASF in this way.

The verification of the controls is currently based on direct supervision at the Border Inspection Posts. The effectiveness of this verification in Poland is reduced by the lack of instructions to implement the controls, according to FVO, so that corrective actions are not required when necessary. The audits in Latvia did not cover these controls.

In Lithuania, controls on personal luggage have been reinforced significantly since June 2013. Permission for passengers to return to their country with illegal products when detected reduces the effectiveness of the controls in deterring further attempts to illegally import products of animal origin.

The current system of verification of the controls on passengers' luggage has not included audits of such controls in Lithuania, according to FVO.

Further Reading

You can view the full reports and the responses from each country's authorities by clicking here.

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