14 Oct 2022 12:55

Russia suspends poultry product imports from Netherlands, Czech Republic due to bird flu

MOSCOW. Oct 14 (Interfax) - Russian plant and animal health watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor is suspending imports of hatching eggs and other poultry products from the Czech Republic and the Netherlands as of October 14 due to bird flu.

"The epizootic situation for highly pathogenic avian flu is continuing to deteriorate in European countries. According to data from the European system ADIS, more than 4,000 outbreaks of avian flu were registered in the first eight months of 2022, tens of millions of birds were destroyed, production of meat and eggs is decreasing in the hardest hit countries, and prices are rising," Rosselkhoznadzor said in a press release.

The veterinary services of some European countries, including the Netherlands, issued statements saying that the disease could become endemic. The Dutch veterinary service is reporting new outbreaks of bird flu almost every day.

"Concerned by this state of affairs, Rosselkhoznadzor requested materials confirming the effectiveness of the system of veterinary control over the spread of disease from the authorities of a number EU countries, with deadlines for provision by the end of September 2022. Due to the absence of responses from the veterinary services of the Netherlands and Czech Republic, as well as guarantees for ensuring the safety of poultry product shipments, Rosselkhoznadzor is forced to suspend imports of hatching eggs and other poultry products from these countries into Russia as of October 14, 2022," the watchdog said.

Given the high risk of bird flu being brought into Russia from these countries, the issue of resuming imports of products can only be considered after this situation is resolved, Rosselkhoznadzor said.

Citing Dutch food safety authority NVWA, Rosselkhoznadzor said bird flu was found in laying hens in Wildervank and Groningen, and in broilers in Zuidwolde; 43,000 birds were destroyed. "According to The Guardian, 3.7 million chickens, ducks and turkeys have been slaughtered as a result of more than 600 outbreaks," Rosselkhoznadzor said.

The essential ban on imports applies primarily to hatching eggs and other breeding material, since imports of poultry meat and other poultry products from European Union countries have been banned since August 2014 under Russia's food embargo.