Swine fever has broken out in Lithuania (photo: flickr)
Russia has banned pork products crossing the border from European Union countries amid a swine fever outbreak in Lithuania.
The ban will continue until Moscow receives safety guarantees from the European Commission about possible spread of the disease to countries bordering Lithuania, said Alexey Alexeyenko, deputy head of Russia's federal service forveterinary and phytosanitary surveillance Rosselkhoznadzor says.
"Due to the outbreak of African swine fever in Lithuania, all EU member states, pursuant to the bilateral agreements, must halt supplying pork to the Russian Federation. We have already accepted the shipments of such products," Alexeyenko said.
European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Ciolos said that European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy Tonio Borg would get in touch with Russian veterinary services in the near future to discuss the current situation and possible solutions.
The Commission will try to convince Russia that all the necessary measures have been taken in the EU to prevent the dangerous disease from spreading, and that EU pork poses no threat to Russian consumers, said Ciolos.
In the meantime, Latvian pig farming representatives told the Nozare.lv business portal that, in the wake of Russia's ban on EU pork imports in 2012, they had reoriented their business to sell pork in other EU member states.
"When the restrictions were approved in 2012, Latvian pig farms very successfully reoriented their business to sell pork in Poland, Lithuania and other European countries," said Latvian Pig Farming Association's Executive Director Dzintra Lejniece.
If Russia offered Latvian pig farms exceptionally good prices, they could renew exports to Russia, keeping in mind, however, that Russian market was highly unpredictable, she added.