FBD: Belarus to ban Russian pork imports due to African swine fever threat

by Eugene Vorotnikov Moscow

November 05 2009 - Belarus has imposed a ban on pork imports from Russia, due to the deterioration of the epizootic situation with the African swine fever, according to the press secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of Belarus Daria Kozlovskay.

"Due to the deterioration of the epizootic situation with the African swine fever in Russia, the government of Belarus is imposing temporary restrictions on the importation of pork from Russia", - said Kozlovskay.

She has clarified that the ban is also applied to the products of pork processing of and technical materials.

She noted that the supply of pork from Russia to Belarus prior to the ban was insignificant.

Meanwhile according to Russian officials the ban will not cause serious damage to the Russian economy, said the press secretary of the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Alexei Alexeyenko.

"Russia is not a major supplier of live hogs and pork to Belarus. We are, rather, the importer. Therefore, this ban will not affect us," - said Alekseenko.

He also recalled that the first outbreaks of African swine fever virus were detected in Georgia, and other regions of Caucasus.

"The current situation in Russia has stabilized" Alekseenko added.

However, he said, much remains to be done to completely eliminate the risk of the virus.

African swine fever (Montgomery disease) was for the first time investigated in 1903 in South Africa. African swine fever (ASF) is a serious viral disease of pigs, endemic in Africa. The African swine fever virus (ASFV) is highly contagious, and can spread very rapidly in pig populations by direct or indirect contact. This virus can persist for long periods in pig products and the environment.


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