Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

Belarus imposes temporary ban on pork imports from Russia

Belarus has imposed a temporary ban on pork imports from Russia, Darya Kazlowskaya, spokeswoman for the Belarusian Ministry of Agriculture and Food, told BelaPAN.

This measure has been taken because of the "deterioration of the epizootic situation regarding African swine fever in Russia," Ms. Kazlowskaya said. The ban also applies to pork products and leftovers, she said.

The previously issued import licenses have been revoked, Ms. Kazlowskaya said.
The country's pork imports from Russia were small, she noted.

Belarus is one of the countries that are at particular risk because of the spread of African swine fever from southern to northwestern parts of Russia, the press office of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on October 22.

"The Baltic Republics together with the Ukraine, Belarus, Moldavia [Moldova], Romania and Bulgaria are directly threatened," said Juan Lubroth, FAO’s chief veterinary officer. "That means there could be possible incursions into the EU and also it could spread across Russia, including eastwards into Siberia and perhaps eventually China."

African swine fever is caused by a virus and is not related at all to the H1N1 virus that is responsible for the current human influenza pandemic, the press office stressed.

African swine fever is dangerous because there is currently no vaccine against it, the press office said.