Veterinary services of Russia and Norway promised to explain "rules of the game" to fish market players

April 9, 2012 10:21

Representatives of Russia's Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor), Norwegian Food Safety Authority (Mattilsynet) and public organizations uniting fish market participants have recently met to discuss a number of issues, for instance, shipments of Norwegian seafood to Russia, reports

Executive director of Russia's Fish Union Mr. Sergey Gudkov who took part in the meeting is concerned by the fact that Norwegian suppliers have lost confidence in results of checks carried out by Russian vet laboratories and called the Russian and Norwegian veterinary services to greater objectivity while defining the source of product's infection (e.g. it could be a transport vehicle, not a production plant). Through certification of seafood shipped from Norway which Russian vets are going to introduce should become extra proof of safety of fish products shipped to Russia. This would enable Rosselkhoznadzor to get more detailed information at all stages of fish culture and processing and reduce companies' expenses.

According to Mr. Gudkov, none of suppliers should fall out of the monitoring scheme which should be evenly distributed in line with shipments volumes. At the same time, supervisory bodies should exchange information on results of monitoring one a quarter. This would let Rosselkhoznadzor and Mattilsynet quickly reach on discovered violations.

Cooperation of Rosselkhoznadzor and Mattilsynet should be more apprehensible for the fish market participants, underlined Mr. Gudkov. It is necessary to explain it to the business community in which cases strengthened control regime is introduced, in which - temporary restrictions and subject to which requirements temporary restrictions are lifted. Today, the procedure of lifting temporary restrictions imposed on Norwegian companies has unmethodical character, and Fish Union members think that such procedure should be quick (1-3 months) and objective.

Mr. Gudkov said that Mattilsynet still obliges exporters willing to ship fish to Russia to give information on contracts with Russian importers, while such regulation has been cancelled by Rosselkhoznadzor. Besides, as of 2007 each Norwegian factory has only one exporter which does not meet norms of international legislation and requirements to WTO member states. Mattilsynet explains such practice by oral request of Rosselkhoznadzor. Such position is unacceptable, said Fish Union's leader.

Shipments from companies products of which have been found containing salmonella, listeria, heavy metals and hazardous chemical compounds (exceeding maximum allowable content) should be immediately suspended until discovery and removal of source of infection. Results of investigations should be made public, underlined Mr. Gudkov.

Participants of the meeting have mapped out a number of steps aimed at raising mutual confidence between the market participants and supervisory bodies of Russia and Norway. Those will encourage protection of imported seafood safety.

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