The organisation's department in the Khabarovsk Territory and the Jewish Autonomous Region has reported that the chicken leg samples tested positive for nitrofurans metabolites [and] furazolidone metabolites.
Nitrofurans can be used indirectly as cattle and poultry growth promoters, Rosselkhoznadzor claimed. It warned that metabolites nitrofurans change water-salt balance, inhibit enzyme activity, cause cardiomyopathy leading to congestive heart failure, lower levels of the protein in plasma, causing anaemia, and have hepatotoxic effects. In addition, they are preserved in the products after cooking, the Russian veterinary body said.
In May 2016, Rosselkhoznadzor also found nitrofurans metabolites in poultry products from two manufacturers: Belgrankorm and Poultry Upper Volga. The Russian veterinary body has never previously accused Cherkizovo of using these drugs.
Rosselkhoznadzor sent letters to the Jewish Autonomous Region government’s veterinary office, as well as product manufacturer JSC Chicken Kingdom, saying that enhanced veterinary controls would be implemented at the facility.
No need for old-fashioned drugs
However, in a press release Cherkizovo stated that it was not using any growth promoters of the nitrofurans group during the production of broiler meat.
The company said Rosselkhoznadzor's claims were incorrect, and it suggested that the situation could be down to outdated testing methods used in Primorye Interregional Veterinary Laboratory (PIVL).
According to Cherkizovo, PIVL research has been based on the immunoenzyme method, which generates error rates of up to 40%. Leading manufacturers and laboratories now apply high-performance liquid chromatography with mass spectrometric detection to determine the residual content of nitrofurans metabolites, claimed the producer.
“It is necessary to use only modern methods laid down both in international standards and our quality legislation," said Sergei Shapovalov, director of the Cherkizovo Research Center. “A laboratory, that uses outdated methods and semi-quantitative analysis cannot claim the research results to be credible.
“From the point of view of animal health, the use of antediluvian drugs in modern livestock industry is illogical. We now have the methodology and instruments to assess pure forms of nitrofurans and their metabolites in meat and can make the appropriate screening in between three and seven hours. We have never found metabolite residues of nitrofurans in the products of JSC Chicken Kingdom.”
No enhanced veterinary control
Meanwhile, Cherkizovo said the company had not received any orders or communication on a violation from Rosselkhoznadzor and no enhanced veterinary control at the facility had been introduced.
Elena Trifonova, communications manager at Cherkizovo, told GlobalMeatNews that Cherkizovo had also not received any research protocols from Rosselkhoznadzor. The company has filed an official request to Rosselkhoznadzor’s department for Jewish Autonomous Region, to present it with the documentation, she added.
Cherkizovo maintained it would conduct additional analysis of poultry meat, not only at its Lipetsk facilities, but also at the company’s other production sites.