18 Jan 2023 10:57

Russia to ban imports of prepared meat products from 15 Italian suppliers as of Feb 1 due to ASF

MOSCOW. Jan 18 (Interfax) - Russia's plant and animal health watchdog is banning imports of prepared meat products from 15 Italian companies as of February 1 due to the risk of African swine fever (ASF) being brought into the country.

This is a forced measure taken due to the lack of dialog with Italy's veterinary service, Rosselkhoznadzor said.

"According to the data of the European information system ADIS, there were 6,795 outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) among wild and domesticated animals in the European Union in 2022, including more than 280 cases of infection in Italy. For comparison, in 2021 only 17 cases were reported," Rosselkhoznadzor said.

This fact and the related risk of ASF being brought into Russia with prepared meat products containing pork that has not undergone sufficient heat treatment that guarantees the destruction of the virus has raised serious concerns at Rosselkhoznadzor, the agency said. Rosselkhoznadzor said it therefore reached out to its Italian colleagues in December 2022 with a proposal to conduct an inspection of enterprises that have the right to ship prepared meat products to Russia.

"However, a response was not received from our Italian colleagues. The Russian side sent the request again. It was also ignored by Italy's veterinary service," Rosselkhoznadzor said. The decision was therefore made to restrict imports.

In general, imports of meat and meat products from Italy are banned by the food embargo Russia imposed in August 2014 in response to sanctions.