20 Jun 2024 17:29

All Russian tuna suppliers being monitored - head of Rosselkhoznadzor

MOSCOW. June 20 (Interfax) - All tuna suppliers in Russia are in the Rosselkhoznadzor information system and are being monitored, the head of Rosselkhoznadzor, Sergei Dankvert, told Interfax, commenting on the situation with the recent botulism outbreak in Russia.

"As soon as information appeared that the cause of the poisoning could have been tuna salad, we were literally able to check all suppliers within a few minutes and make sure that they had all gone through the Rosselkhoznadzor electronic laboratory control systems" Dankvert said.

"We came to the conclusion that the likelihood of poisoning due to tuna is minimal, since these products are controlled, and the companies are certified for supplying to Russia. In fact, they are under double control by both veterinary services in their countries and our own monitoring," Dankvert said.

Tuna is supplied to Russia from Vietnam, Thailand and China, he said.

The head of Rosselkhoznadzor said that the situation is more complicated with products of plant origin, whose producers and suppliers are not in the system. "If this level of control is provided for livestock products "from farm to table," then questions as to whether safety is ensured during the preparation of dishes can only be answered by control measures," he said.

Dankvert said he believes that many problems could be solved with mandatory registration of public catering establishments in Rosselkhoznadzor's electronic systems.

"Currently, public catering enterprises have no obligation to register in our systems. This can be done by application, that is, voluntarily. We are not against it, please. However, when establishing these enterprises, it needs to be written down that if they use livestock products, they must be registered in the Rosselkhoznadzor system. As soon as they enter our system, we will be able to quickly respond to all cases, as with what happened recently," the head of the service said.

In the meantime, there are 50% fewer enterprises registered in the veterinary system than those that are generally registered as public catering enterprises, he said. This is especially typical for the southern regions, where it is possible to quickly prepare products and then sell them, he said.

In addition, the application registration procedure must also provide for strict internal control. "The outbreak of botulism also shows that this was completely absent," Dankvert said. "The authorities are trying to accommodate business halfway, giving entrepreneurs more freedom. But we must not forget that unscrupulous people can take advantage of this freedom."

The head of Rosselkhoznadzor cited the example of the experience of several countries where the condition for the application registration of a business is to provide regulatory authorities with a complete list of the applicant company's suppliers. "And if something happens, regulatory authorities do not need to call a lot of suppliers and find out with whom the offender interacted, but can immediately take action," Dankvert said.

As reported, more than 120 people consulted doctors in Moscow with symptoms of poisoning and suspected botulism; 55 people are in serious condition. Consumers were sickened in the Moscow region, Nizhny Novgorod region and in Kazan.

Rospotrebnadzor, whose specialists are conducting an epidemiological investigation, said that the victims ate a "lobio salad" product manufactured by Lokalkitchen LLC ("Kitchen in your District") and "salad with tuna, beans and apple" manufactured by Gastroport LLC. Rospotrebnadzor soon reported that the cause of the mass botulism infection in a number of Russian regions was beans supplied for the lobio salad. Suppliers and manufacturers of the hazardous food products were identified, their activities were suspended, and the hazardous products were withdrawn from circulation.

The Investigative Committee opened a criminal case into the mass poisoning of Moscow residents, and four suspects were summarily detained.

The operations of ready-to-eat food delivery service "Kitchen in your District" have been suspended.