ASF Russia: Infected pork products found in the south

26-09-2023 | |
Photo: Canva
Photo: Canva

Pork products infected with African Swine Fever (ASF) have been found in a forest of Krasdonar Krai in the Russian south, as well as in the supply chain.

3 cases of ASF were registered in different parts of Krasnodar Krai in mid-September. Krasnodar Krai borders Crimea, the regional government said in a statement. Semi-finished food products were found contaminated with ASF in a Novorossiysk food distribution centre.

In addition, in a forest not far from the first outbreak, the regional authorities discovered 2 carcasses of dead pigs and waste from the slaughter of a third pig, all infected with ASF. In this case, the source remains unknown.

‘Farmers hide outbreaks’

In previous years, Russian veterinary officials complained that farmers sometimes hide ASF outbreaks, hoping to deal with the disease with their own forces and keep their business running afterwards. In doing so, they usually try to burn the carcasses of dead pigs or hide them in waste dumps and forests, contributing to the further spread of the disease.

ASF in supply chain

It appears that some products infected with ASF ended up in the supply chain. The veterinary officials reported that around 50 kg of contaminated pork were discovered in a canteen in the Eremizino-Borisovskaya village in Krasnodar Krai. The products were supplied by Tkachev’s Agricultural Complex, one of the leading agricultural firms in this part of the country.

There is no information on whether any pork with ASF was consumed before the infected batch was discovered. Also, pork products with ASF genome were found in a retail store in the city of Krasnodar, the regional authorities said, not going further down into details.

Mass culls underway

To deal with the virus, the regional authorities decided to cull 12,000 pigs in the biggest anti-ASF campaign in the Russian south in years. It is expected that 3 farms will be affected. The regional department of Rosselhoznadzor, the Russian veterinary watchdog, also claimed that the agency utilises traceability system Mercury to search for infected food products throughout the supply chain.

Cause unclear

It is unclear what caused the new wave of ASF outbreaks, but the veterinary service said that in previous cases, the cause of infection was the slaughter products of infected pigs – food and slaughterhouse waste used without proper heat treatment in animal feed production.

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Vladislav Vorotnikov Eastern Europe correspondent