Belarus Suspends Pork Exports to Russia

BELARUS - More products from Belarus have been found to contain the African swine fever virus, according to the Russian veterinary authority and Belarus has suspended pork exports to Russia.
calendar icon 5 November 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

According to Rosselhoznadzor, analysis of sausages from the Bobruisk and Mogilev meat factories and Belatmit enterprises has revealed genetic material of African swine fever virus.

On 31 October, Belarusian news agency, BelTA, reported that Belarus has suspended pork exports to Russia.

Pork exports from Belarus to Russia is temporarily suspended as of 31 October, the agency learned from Vasily Pivovar, Director of the Veterinary and Food Oversight Department of the Belarusian Agriculture and Food Ministry.

He said: “We have an arrangement with Russian colleagues: taking into account the current epizootic situation as of today we suspend the certification of pork products until all the circumstances are totally clarified, including the sources from which the African swine fever genome came to infect [products of several Belarusian meat-packing factories].

Belarus will no longer export cooled and frozen pork and pork byproducts to Russia.

“We have also agreed to finish the investigation by 11 November, hold a working meeting and determine our future steps,” Mr Pivovar added.

In October 2014 the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance of Russia (Rosselkhoznadzor) announced that the genome of African swine fever had been found in products made by meat-packing factories in Bobruisk, Orsha, Minsk, and Mogilev.

“We are investigating the sources the genome came from to these meat-processing enterprises,” said the Director of the Veterinary and Food Oversight Department of the Belarusian Agriculture and Food Ministry.

Mr Pivovar said that veterinary specialists in Belarus already have the methods to detect African swine fever genome in pork products. He assured that teams of competent specialists had been dispatched to the meat-packing factories, in which products ASF genome has been found. An investigation into the presence of African swine fever genome in products made by all the Belarusian meat-packing factories is underway.

The situation with regard to African swine fever is rather complicated in neighbouring countries, according to the BelTA report. Belarus has been taking measures for over 15 years to prevent the spread of the disease by reducing wild hog population, which is the main source of the virus, and taking biological protection measures at major animal husbandry enterprises. In 2014, the wild hog population dropped by 80,000. Meanwhile, Belarus continues raising biological protection requirements for animal husbandry enterprises.

African swine fever (Montgomery's disease) is a contagious viral disease that affects domestic swine and wild hogs alike. The disease is transmitted via direct contact between healthy and diseased animals, via products made of pork, by ticks and mechanically (by transportation means, during the transportation of animals). No vaccine is available. If infected, nearly the entire livestock of the diseased swine dies out. The animals suspected to have the disease are slaughtered. The disease does not affect humans.

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