Russia’s key pig region commits to quality standards

25-09-2017 | | |
Russia s key pig region Belgorod will stop using strong antibiotics in pig feeding as from 2018. Photo: Henk Riswick
Russia s key pig region Belgorod will stop using strong antibiotics in pig feeding as from 2018. Photo: Henk Riswick

Pig farms in Russia’s key pig region Belgorod have signed a joint commitment to stop using all kinds of growth promoters, hormones and ‘strong’ antibiotics in pig feeding as from 1 January 2018.

That was communicated by Tatiana Ayusheva, head of the regional branch of the Russian veterinary body Rosselkhoznadzor, in a statement early September.

Major pig companies are included

Ms Ayusheva didn’t mention names of specific pig producers that confirmed to stick to these quality standards, but she made it clear that the list does include major companies.

Compliance with the new pig feeding rules in the region will become compulsory. Rosselkhoznadzor’s laboratory in the region will have to monitor how the ban of the undesirable substances is taking place.

Russian province announcing pig feeding requirements

It is the first time that a Russian province is announcing requirements of pig feeding that are different from federal regulations. In general, any producer in Russia used to be free to apply any stricter standards, as long as they comply with federal regulations.

Ms Ayusheva emphasised that the project’s main purpose is to improve the export potential of the Belgorod region, being Russia’s largest region in terms of pork production. It accounts for 20% of Russia’s total pig population, according Russia’s State Statistical Service data.

Stop using strong antibiotic substances

Ms Ayusheva said that under the new regulations, Belgorod pig farmers are going to stop using the substances in the ‘class A’ of Russia’s classification of veterinary drugs and additives; in general these are drugs that have long withdrawal times. These substances are already banned in other countries, including Europe and China, so it is virtually impossible even to think about the developing pork exports from the region without these new quality standards.

Rosselhoznadzor will study pig excrements on the presence of prohibited substances. Should growth promoters, hormones or ‘strong’ antibiotics be found, then producers will be subjected to a fine, for the ‘misguiding of consumers’, Ms Ayusheva said.

Russia and exporting pork

In the first half of 2017, Russia exported 9,200 tonnes of pork, which is two times higher than in same period of 2016, according to data of Russia’s agricultural ministry.

Russia’s government set an ambitious target for the development of pork exports. It is planning to deliver 200,000-300,000 tonnes of pork abroad between 2020 and 2022. The key targeted export markets, however, remain closed for Russian meat, mainly due to ongoing outbreaks of the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus, which continues to expand its geographical coverage in the country.

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Vladislav Vorotnikov Eastern Europe correspondent