The Russian Parliament is in the final stages of discussing a stringent new law to fight against the spread of salmonella in poultry.
The disease is an ongoing problem in Russia. In May, an independent study by the Russian Society for the Protection of Consumer Rights found about 33% of poultry in the country was infected with the bacteria.
In response, the Russian government has drafted a stringent new law, 'On Veterinary Medicine', which will tighten the liability for infringement of veterinary legislation and strengthen the inspection system. It is due to come into force on 1 January, 2013.
The chairman of the Public Council under the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, Andrey Danilenko, said: “The main thing in this law is the attempt of the Ministry of Agriculture, and the industry to tighten control over the animals’ health and to place this responsibility on local authorities as well as on the federal veterinary service.”
Under the new law, each farm will be obliged to have its own veterinary service for control the quality of the production. If no veterinarian work force is present, this could be considered a violation, and the farm could be fined heavily or closed down. Officials will be held criminally liable, including imprisonment, for the lack of proper control over the farms.
In order to maintain consistency, the checking specialists will be local, while supervision will be assigned to a federal agency.
Danilenko added: "The main challenge is to reach the same level of veterinary control in all regions of Russia. In each state it will be created special services that will be ready at any moment to come and see how adequately it is carried out a control in a particular farm.
"If the check detects violations, for example, the absence of veterinary work force, then the enterprise will incur an administrative liability [large money penalty]. However, depending on the situation the specialists may decide to cull all the livestock.
"Prevention here is - first and foremost. Inspectors should appear regularly on the farms, and track that the farmer meet all the requirements.”
Mikhail Anshakov, chairman of the Society for Consumer Protection, which conducted the independent study on salmonella in poultry said that Russia should learn from the experience of the USA.
He said: “In the US the same 30% of chicken with salmonella contamination was eliminated with the help of special government programs.
“Traditionally the bacteria appear in the poultry complexes of the North-Western and Southern regions of Russia. In the EU members, particularly in Sweden and Denmark, there no poultry infected with salmonella.”
Similar measures have already been introduced to fight against African swine fever.