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Russia Bans Import of Live Pigs from Germany

by 5m Editor
24 January 2011, at 10:47am

RUSSIA - Russia has banned the import of live pigs from Germany for fattening and slaughter, head of the Federal Agency for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Supervision (Rosselkhoznadzor) Sergei Dankvert told journalists at the Green Week in Berlin on Friday.

This measure, Mr Dankvert noted, is resulting from the fact that “the German side as of today cannot give a 100 per cent guarantee that there is no dioxin in animal products supplied to Russia.“

In addition, according to Dankvert, Russia introduces the regime of 100 per cent tracking of livestock products from Germany with test results confirming the absence of dioxin in them. Ukraine has already introduced a similar regime. Belarus has imposed a total ban on the import of all animal products from Germany, reports Itar-Tass.

Russia’s Rospotrebnadzor consumer rights watchdog believes it is necessary to send a group of independent experts to Germany to look into the situation with meat contaminated with dioxin, its head Gennady Onishchenko said earlier.

According to official data, dioxin meat was found in Germany between 11 November to 16 December 2010. However, according to some reports, contaminated meat was found already as early as in March 2010. “We insist that independent experts go there,“ he stressed. “There are no guarantees that the meat has been destroyed,“ Mr Onishchenko noted on Monday.

He once again confirmed that dioxin products could have come to the Russian market – not through direct supplies, but through third countries. The head of Rospotrebnadzor advised the Russians, who fear poor quality meat, to buy Russian products. “We have enough poultry meat in the country, and there is a choice,“ he said, adding that there was enough domestic pork on the market. Onishchenko pledged that there is no dioxin in Russian-produced poultry and pork. Dioxin causes chronic poisoning. Its impact is not immediate, it accumulates in the body and may cause cancer or immunodepression.

The “dioxin scandal“ has enveloped 11 of the 16 federal lands in Germany, where the authorities closed down more than 4,700 poultry and livestock farms. Checks showed that all had been using feeds with a content of dioxin 3-4 times above the tolerance limit. Products from these farms have been banned from the market and shall be subject to disposal. A criminal case has been opened over the contamination of feeds and foods.

The EU has already started to put barriers in the way of the possible spread of dioxin through foods. Slovakia was the first to have announced a ban on the import of eggs and poultry from Germany, and now people in the neighbouring Czech Republic, as well as in the potential “culprit-state“ - the Netherlands - have been demanding their governments should follow suit. Meanwhile, the European Commission has announced its intention to develop mechanisms to enhance control over the spread of dioxin along the food chain in the near future.