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Russian retailers enhance biosecurity controls over bird flu outbreaks

Post a commentBy Vladislav Vorotnikov , 14-Mar-2017
Last updated on 14-Mar-2017 at 13:29 GMT2017-03-14T13:29:58Z

Russia has officially confirmed three AI outbreaks and chicken sales have since fallen
Russia has officially confirmed three AI outbreaks and chicken sales have since fallen

Russia’s largest retailers, including Magnit and Auchan, have enhanced biosecurity controls over poultry production due to the recent outbreaks of avian influenza (AI) in Moscow Oblast.

The press service of Magnit said the company had asked all accredited poultry suppliers to strengthen their biosecurity rules during both manufacturing and delivery of poultry. In addition, Magnit has outlined and submitted to its poultry suppliers a list of product safety requirements with which they need to comply. The company is also sending regular samples of poultry from its grocery shelves to veterinary laboratories.

Similar measures have been taken by Auchan Russia, Maria Kurnosova, head of the company’s external communications department revealed recently. She explained that its poultry suppliers had strengthened measures for the disinfection of vehicles used to transport poultry products and had introduced enhanced controls on the quality of poultry in general.

Meanwhile, Kurnosova said Auchan did not expect any interruption in supplies of poultry products to the company’s outlets as a result of the AI outbreaks. Most of Russia’s other retails chains, including X5 Retail Group and Diksi, have also reported that incidences of AI should not have any impact on operations, because poultry has not been supplied from farms affected by the outbreaks.

Moscow’s poultry market under pressure?

Several regional media outlets have reported that, following the AI outbreaks, sales of poultry fell sharply in Moscow Oblast, especially in the districts affected by the disease, while the average price for poultry meat dropped by nearly 30%, although no official estimates have been released so far.

However, speaking at meeting of the regional Parliament on 9 March, the agriculture minister for Moscow Oblast, Andrey Razin, said the situation was fully under control, adding that there would be no negative impact on prices or supplies.

He said that at the farm JSC New Technologies, where the outbreak was detected, at least half of the poultry stock of 800,000 head could be saved.

In 2016, Moscow Oblast increased production of poultry by 11,000 tonnes (t), while nearly 3,000t of poultry would be destroyed due to the outbreaks, so there would be no market deficit, he suggested.

Vladimir Posagennikov, minister for consumer markets, said the situation with AI seemed dramatic from the point of view of affected businesses, but not consumers. He suggested there would be no price fluctuations nor any other turbulence in the market.

AI origins need to be followed

Russia’s officials have officially confirmed three AI outbreaks in industrial farms in Moscow Oblast, while an absolute figure on the losses due to the disease is yet to be established. According to the results of a preliminary investigation, the disease could have been imported into the region from Rostov Oblast in the south of Russia by some “private traders”, the department of chief veterinary officer of Moscow Oblast stated.

Meanwhile, what is known is that, from the time when poultry mortality at the Smena Farm was revealed on 27 February up to the point when the outbreak was officially confirmed on 6 March, quarantine measures were not fully implemented and the plant was regularly exporting poultry to several regions in Russia, including Tambov and Vladimir Oblast and even to the Magadan region in the far east of the country.

Since the start of 2014, the global poultry industry has grappled with AI, which has so far been detected across Europe , Asia , Africa and the Middle East.  

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