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Russia not interested in banning pork imports from EU

January 31, 2014, 19:17 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russia will make an exemption in case the European Union uses such an instrument as regionalization of a disease

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© ITAR-TASS/Anton Butsenko

MOSCOW, January 31. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia is not interested in banning imports of European pork over an African swine fever (ASF) outbreak in the European Union, Russian Minister of Agriculture Nikolai Fedorov told journalists on Friday.

“We do not want to impose any bans or embargo on pork imports to Russia and the Customs Union (of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan),” he said, adding that the current agreements bound the European Union not to let potentially hazardous products be exported outside its boundaries in case of highly dangerous epidemics.

According to Fedorov, Russia will make an exemption in case the European Union uses such an instrument as regionalization of the disease. “If they prove to our veterinary service that the European Union has ASF-free zones, no restrictions will be imposed on products originating from those zones,” he noted, adding that Russia was holding daily consultations on the problems of African swine fever with Lithuania, where Europe’s first ASF outbreaks had been reported from.

“We are working very carefully and in a civilized manner,” he said. In his words, Russia’s position at negotiations with the European Union’s veterinary authorities was that the European Union should monitor the situation round-the-clock and make steps to regionalize the disease.

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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