AI-infected poultry hits grocery shelves in Russia

By Vladislav Vorotnikov

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Poultry

Russia has been hit with a series of bird flu outbreaks
Russia has been hit with a series of bird flu outbreaks
Russia’s veterinary body Rosselkhoznadzor has discovered several batches of turkey infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza (AI) on supermarket shelves.

It is believed that the source of infected poultry was Eurodon poultry farm in Rostov Oblast, where the new AI outbreak has been officially registered in mid-April.

The affected regions are: Kransnodar Krai, Republic of Bashkortostan, Republic of Tatarstan, Udmurt Republic and Chuvash Republic.

Olga Grekova, the spokeswoman of Eurodon, commenting on the AI outbreaks at the facility, said that the company suspects that it was not an accident. She explained that Eurodon applies to only the most advanced safety technologies and is accounted for the highest level of biological control at the production facilities that none of Russia’s other poultry producers have.

The company believes in the possible “artificial nature​” of the registered outbreaks, Grekova said, not specifying, however, what it means.

Speaking recently, the company’s owner Vadim Vaneev said that the company was planning to produce 140,000 – 150,000 tonnes (t) of turkey meat in 2017, but following the AI outbreaks it lowered the target on production performance to 100,000 – 110,000t.

Vaneev also stated his company “is under attack​”. He said the attacks took place in February and December 2016, and now it has happened again. He did not say exactly what he means but in February 2016 Eurodon felt the brunt of conflict by shareholders that the company’s officials described as the “hostile takeover attempt​”.

The new wave of outbreaks

Meanwhile, the situation in central Russia on AI​ has heavily worsened over the past few weeks, as six outbreaks were reported in the Republic of Tatarstan, according to Rosselkhoznadzor.

The initial source of the virus remains unknown, but the first outbreak in the region was reported in the Laishevo poultry plant in early May. The total poultry flock at the facility was 450,000 head which will be fully culled with the total losses reaching $1.6m, according to company’s executives.

Almaz Khisamutdinov, the chief veterinary doctor of Tatarstan said nearly one million eggs from the Laishevo poultry plant entered the market in the weeks prior to outbreak. This production potentially could be infected, he said, while several local media with the reference to the insiders in the regional government reported that the infected products were delivered to kindergartens and schools.

In addition to the Laishevo plant, AI has been officially confirmed at the five backyard farms in Tatarstan, while Rosselkhoznadzor reported on the identification of the first outbreak in the neighbor Mari El Republic. The veterinary body has not revealed any details on this incident yet, only saying that all necessary measures aimed to constrain the further spread of the virus have been held.

On May 17 Rosselkhoznadzor also said that infected poultry, most likely from Eurodon, have been revealed in Russia’s Far East, specifically in Primorsk Krai.

Related topics: Meat

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