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MOSCOW, November 5. /TASS/. Beef products contaminated with the deadly anthrax disease do not pose a threat to Russian consumers, the country's veterinary and phytosanitary watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said on Wednesday.
“There is no grave threat to our consumers. But we have enhanced our monitoring,” said Alexey Alexeyenko, an aide to the watchdog's head, adding that the contaminated products had not been supplied to Russia.
Another Russian agency that exercises control over production and turnover of food products, Rospotrebnadzor, earlier banned imports of beef sausage and sliced beef from Belgium, Denmark, Slovakia, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Poland and Germany. The move followed reports from Germany's state food safety agency that the disease had been found in beef at several supermarkets, butcher's shops and wholesale stores across the country.
According to BVL agency, anthrax was first identified on a farm in Slovakia in late September, when potentially infected animals were sent for slaughter to Poland, before being sold on to other parts of the EU.
The EU’s rapid alert system for food and feed (RASFF) last month warned of the possible presence of Bacillus anthracis — the bacterium causing the disease — in beef shipped to Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. More than 3.6 tons of anthrax-infected beef were sold to Germany.
Anthrax, a highly infectious and fatal disease of mammals and humans, is caused by a bacterium that occurs naturally in soil. Symptoms of anthrax exposure include skin ulcers, nausea, vomiting and fever. If left untreated, it can be fatal.