Sergey Dankvert, head of Rosselkhoznadzor, criticised the European Union’s current stance (EU) on the issue and stated that all European countries would not be able to resume supplies simultaneously, as the status on African swine fever (ASF) varies from country to country.
Rosselkhoznadzor had begun inspection of pork producers in several European countries, including Denmark, Hungary and the Netherlands, but suspended this, claiming that the EU’s current position seemed unclear. According to Dankvert, when Rosselkhoznadzor announced the inspections, officials in Poland and the Baltic states disagreed with the approach, claiming the inspections should take place in all pork exporting countries of Europe at the same time.
"But how can we conduct these [inspections] at the same time if the different European countries have a different status on animal health? ASF has been discovered in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, so these countries will not be able to supply pork products to the Russian market earlier than three years’ time. We cannot apply the same measures [to those markets] that we would like to apply to Denmark and other countries, for example, where the disease has not been detected," stated Dankvert.
"We have tried to find a way out and create an opportunity for European companies producing pork to return pork to the Russian market, but if this is unacceptable to our European colleagues, we will not implement the initiative," he added.
ASF situation remains tense
Meanwhile, the situation with the ASF virus in the Baltic States and Poland remained complicated. For example, in Latvia the emergency on ASF has ended, but the threat of new disease outbreaks still remains, said Food and Veterinary Service representative Edvīns Olshevskis.
According to Olshevskis, the emergency situation cannot last for more than six months, but all the previous measures aimed at fighting ASF remain in force. He recalled that the last outbreak among domestic pigs was reported on 17 September, while the disease continues to circulate among wild boars, and, since the beginning of 2015, 29 outbreaks of the disease have been discovered in the wild.
Neighbouring Estonia also continues to struggle with ASF, with state-owned company Vireen recently purchasing a mobile incinerator to burn dead pigs and wild boars at a total cost of €239,000. The money was allocated from the government’s reserve fund. A Hurikan 1000E mobile incinerator has been ordered from Waste Spectrum Environmental (UK). It is expected that, in future, the mobile unit can be transported to areas of Estonia where new outbreaks of ASF are reported.
At the same time, Polish agriculture minister Marek Sawicki recently proposed culling the entire population of the wild boars in the country, to decrease the risk of any further spread of ASF. Local ecological associations protested against this initiative, and it is believed the measure will not be approved.