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Estonia allows pork to cross borders despite swine fever outbreak

  • 2014-07-29
  • From wire reports, TALLINN

Estonia has reversed a decision to ban Lithuanian pork from crossing its borders amid the outbreak of the deadly African swine fever.

On July 24, the Veterinary and Food Board prohibited the import of pork and its products from Lithuania due to the African swine fever found on one of the country's largest farms.

However, the board said it turned back on its decision this week for the benefit of local businesses.

"We were waiting for the implementation decision of the European Commission on the Lithuanian restriction, but these things take time for the Commission," explained the head of the Food and Veterinary Board Ago Partel on why the import ban was introduced.

"Since it was a big farm, with 20,000 pigs, we could not be absolutely certain before Lithuania confirmed that live pigs and pork from there did not reach Estonia," he said. Partel emphasized that at the moment, shops can sell Lithuania pork and products made of it without problems.

"Rimi store assortments really include some pork products of Lithuanian origin," said Rimi spokeswoman Katrin Bats.

Since the original import ban was lifted, Rimi will not withdraw anything from sale.

Maxima spokesman Erkki Erilaid said that they have not sold fresh pork from Lithuania in the last month.

"Among different meat products such as sausages, frankfurters, etc. we sell only the products of Lithuanian producers who do not manufacture their products from pork [sourced] in Lithuania and follow, in handling of food products, all decrees of different states' Veterinary and Food Administrations," he said.

Prisma fresh goods purchase manager Tiia Karu said they don’t sell cooled pork products of Lithuanian origin but have some smoked pork products produced. "We have not received information, that there would be a need to remove a pork product produced in Lithuania from sale," stated Karu.

On Monday, the Estonian Food and Veterinary Office established a buffer zone extending 40 kilometers from the Latvian outbreak center. This zone, where there are extremely strict requirements set on pig farms, includes the whole of Valgamaa county, Karksi parish in Viljandimaa County and four parishes of Vorumaa bordering Valgamaa County.