(!) Introduction of several food products prohibited due to African Swine Fever outbreak
In summer 2013 there were African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreaks reported in the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation. In the beginning of 2014 ASF outbreaks were also reported in Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. Therefore, in order to prevent the spread of the ASF virus to the European Union (EU), necessary control measures on the EU borders were immediately put in place to prevent introduction of the virus via vehicles and goods.
The State Revenue Service’s (SRS) customs authorities ensure 100% luggage inspections for private persons upon entry into the Republic of Latvia from the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation by road, railway, air and sea in accordance with delegation provided for in Commission Regulation (EC) No 206/2009 of 5 March 2009 on the introduction into the Community of personal consignments of products of animal origin and amending Regulation (EC) No 136/2004 and Section 52 of the Veterinary Medicine Law. Luggage control measures apply also to travellers arriving from third countries.
SRS reminds and requests to note:
In personal luggage for own consumption from third countries it is prohibited to introduce meat and meat products (lard, fresh or treated meat, animal fat, various types of sausages, preserved meat, pastry filled with meat or containing it, macaroni with meat, sauces, soups, etc.), mild and dairy products (milk, yoghurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, kefir, cheese, butter, condensed milk, etc.), pet feed containing meat or milk (domestic animal feed, dog chew toys, whole meal flour mixtures).
Control measures apply to any person entering the Republic of Latvia from a third country, including travellers and their personal luggage, as well as personal luggage of truck and international traffic bus drivers, sea and air transport crew members, passenger train conductors.
If the set requirements are not complied with and on border crossing points of the Republic of Latvia authorities identify an attempt to introduce from third countries for personal consumption food products of animal origin, prohibited from introduction, customs officials confiscate the products in question and they are destroyed. Violation of introduction requirements in respect of food products of animal origin for personal consumption may incur administrative liability in accordance with Section 108.5 of the Latvian Administrative Violations Code, and in case of repeated violation – a fine.
In order not to commit an administrative violation, persons before customs control have to throw the food products prohibited from introduction into specially marked containers at the customs control point.
If a person has left the territory of Latvia and after some time returns or is directed back to Latvia, the goods have lost the EU status, as well as a customs official is not able to verify if he/she has visited areas affected by the disease and has contacts with agents of the disease, therefore the initial origin of the product does not matter. In order to prevent potential spread of diseases customs officials take actions to identify, confiscate and destroy the prohibited products introduced for non-commercial purposes, as prescribed by the aforementioned Regulation No 206/2009.
The ASF is very contagious diseases affecting domestic pigs and wild boars irrespective of their age. The agent (virus) for each of the diseases is different; however, they proceed with very similar symptoms. The main disease transmitters are ill pigs, as well as seemingly healthy pigs who are carriers of the virus by spreading the virus into the environment via urine, faeces etc.
The disease can be transmitted by air and when pigs come into contact with virus-affected:
- feed, water, raw pork-containing leftovers;
- animal handling equipment, transport vehicles;
- clothing and footwear of animal handlers, etc.
ASF is a disease that, except for pigs, does affect neither other animals, nor humans, yet they play an important role in transmission and spread of the disease. Viruses of both diseases are resistant in the surrounding environment:
- in frozen meat – several years;
- in salted meat – up to 310 days;
- in pork and smoked meat – up to 6 months;
- in soil – more than 6 months;
- in bodies of dead animals virulence remains for up to 2 months.