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Russia to ban pork imports from Lithuania

January 24, 2014, 21:03 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, January 24, /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s veterinary and phytosanitary authority (Rosselkhoznadzor) plans to impose a ban on imports of Lithuanian pork over an outbreak of African swine fever in that country, Vasily Lavrovsky, who head Rosselkhoznadzor’s department for veterinary control within the framework of international cooperation and the World Trade Organization (WTO), told Itar-Tass.

He said that this problem would be in the focus of consultations between veterinary services of Russia, Belarus and representatives of the European Union due to be held on Monday, January 27.

He said that head of Lithuania’s food and veterinary service Jonas Milius had informed the Russian side of two cases of African swine fever in wild boars. “In a similar situation with the ASF, the European Union promptly closed Russia, from Kaliningrad to Sakhalin,” Lavrovsky noted.

After consultations with European veterinary officials, veterinary service of the Customs Union [of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan] will decide on measures to stop possible spread of the disease. According to Lavrovsky, a ban on pork imports from Lithuania is a closed issue. It is highly probable that similar bans would be imposed on pork imports from neighbouring Latvia, Estonia and Poland. “It is not ruled out that ban could be applicable to the entire European Union,” he said, adding that these measures could be taken within a couple of weeks.

The African swine fever outbreak in Lithuania is the first such case in the European Union. Earlier, Rosselkhoznadzor repeatedly warned the European Union that the disease could spread into its territory.

African swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious notifiable disease of pigs caused by a virus. The disease may occur in acute, sub-acute or chronic forms. The acute form causes severe disease from which the majority of affected pigs die. African swine fever can be spread through direct contact with infected pigs, faeces or body fluids; indirect contact via fomites such as equipment, vehicles or people who work with pigs between pig farms with ineffective biosecurity; pigs eating infected pig meat or meat products; biological vectors - ticks of the species Ornithodoros. There is no vaccine against African swine fever, which can be stopped from spreading only through culling infected animals. The first African swine fever outbreak was registered in South Africa in 1903.

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