Veterinary inspections from Russia in Ireland this week

Government veterinary inspectors from Russia are in Ireland this week, visiting a selection of meat, dairy and fish processing operations, according to industry sources.

All of the companies due to receive visits are currently supplying produce to the Russian market. It is believed that the visiting Russian delegation will be accompanied by Department of Agriculture representatives thoughout. The visit will be topped and tailed with formal briefing sessions, involving senior officials from the Department of Agriculture and members of the visiting veterinary team from Russia.

This week’s visits follow the recent inspections of 30 Irish dairy companies by a veterinary delegation from China. Irish food exports to Russia have increased steadily over recent years and were worth €150 million in 2011. However, Russia currently has a ban on pork imports from EU countries, including Ireland.

Ireland exported 42% more pigmeat in 2013 than 2012, at 21,000 tonnes. Figures for the first two months of 2014 show a further fall of 11% in Russian import volumes. The EU has launched a case with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against the Russian ban on imports of pigs, fresh pork and certain pig products from the EU.

Russia closed its market to the EU – cutting off almost 25% of all EU exports – at the end of January 2014, according to the European Commission and it based its decision on four isolated cases of African swine fever (ASF) detected in wild boar at the Lithuanian and Polish borders with Belarus.