Armenia’s State Food Safety Service Infringements: Security Certificates to Hazardous Goods
Hetq recently wrote about salmonella-tainted poultry entering the Armenian market.
This time, we present other violations by the Armenia’s State Food Safety Service(SFSS).
When goods enter Armenia, border inspectors are the first to deal with them. They evaluate the risk of the product and decide if it’s required to send the goods for laboratory examination. After all these actions, the importer either gets an import certificate, or does not.
However, our research on the SFSS violations indicates that there are cases when hazardous products are sent to a second examination, where dangerous products are recognized as safe.
For example, in April 2017, the Standard Dialog laboratory tested 15 tons of frozen chicken, imported by the Ukrainian company Ptitsecomplex Gubin, and found it contained salmonella. The poultry was found to be dangerous and had to be destroyed.
Later, however, the SFSS granted Ptitsecomplex Gubin a N 00007217 certificate, allowing the import of the hazardous poultry.
Product recognized safe based on an expired BRC certificate
In June 2017, American Pilgrim’s Pride imported 102 tons of frozen poultryto Armenia.
When importing, the company presented an outdated BRC certificate, which was accepted by a SFSS border inspector. As a result, the poultry was not sent for testing and got a safety certificate allowing the import.
Issuing import certificates without waiting for laboratory test results
On February 9, 2017, some poultry was imported from Brazil. Evaluating the product's risk level, SFSS inspectors sent it for testing.
However, four days later, on February 13, when the results of the examination were still not ready, the SFSS provided the company with an import certificate, while the results of the laboratory examination were received only on February 24, 11 days later.
A similar case was registered earlier that year, in January, when the SFSS issued an import certificate for another 103.8 tons of poultry before getting testing results, and in November 2016, for marinated cucumbers.
Thus, the SFSS repeatedly violated government Decision N 1442 of October 21, 2010, regulating the import of cargo with a safety certificate, which has to be issued based on testing results.
There are no animal registration and numbering systems
Several days ago, Hetq wrote about the slaughter of 509 pigs in Tavush province.
The SFSS does not provide any justification for the incident, claiming that the slaughter was performed on the owner's initiative and denying that there is plague in Armenia’s Tavush Province. The owner, however, notes that his animals were not documented and had never been vaccinated.
The Control Chamber report of 2017 notes that the documentation and disease detection resulting from epidemiological surveillance of animals do not reflect the current situation, as there are no mechanisms for registering and counting animals.
The absence of such mechanisms hinders eliminating animal diseases and increasing the effectiveness of preventive measures at the expense of the state budget, since animals should be numbered and have veterinary passports for proper vaccination.