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AgriMin Constantin: ANSVSA to check private food safety certification labs

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The National Animal Health and Food Security Authority (ANSVSA) is starting an inspection of privately run laboratories that issue certificates attesting to the quality of meat products, Agriculture Minister Daniel Constantin said Wednesday, adding that he asked the ANSVSA head to toughen the legislation in this field following a recent scandal of salmonella-contaminated meat.

'I had a conversation with ANSVSA Chairman Vladimir Manastireanu on Tuesday. Starting today, ANSVSA will carry out product quality checks as well as checks of the business of some privately run laboratories where self-control is conducted. Virtually any product in Romania in order to be released for trade has to be accompanied by a bulletin attesting to quality and safety. Many of such certificates are issued by privately-run laboratories. They are accredited in accordance with the national legislation, but I believe we have to amend the legislation to strengthen checks of the labs in the period immediately ahead, starting today,' Constantin told a press conference at the Government House.

Asked to estimate the losses of Romanian meat producers, he said tens of millions of euros.

'That is why I am asking not to exaggerate with generalising the issue. These are isolated cases. I hope the veterinarians are doing their job properly. Where there were already situations, they will be penalised first of all,' said Constantin.

About the meat withdrawn from trade, Constantin said the products arrived on the shelves already contaminated.

Citing data with the Health Ministry, he mentioned that the salmonella contamination cases are fewer in Romania, just at nearly 25 per cent of the EU average.

'These are data from the Heath Ministry that we compared against other member states. In Romania, the cases of salmonella-related medical cases are at nearly 25 per cent of the EU average, which shows that exceptions have to be treated as thus, not as the rule,' said Constantin.

Animal health inspectors of the eastern city of Suceava impounded nearly 3.7 tonnes of chicken meat from Avicola Calarasi suspected of having failed conformity standards, Suceava Prefect Florin Sinescu said Monday.

A bacteria stem was found in tests conducted by the Prahova Animal Health and Food Security Directorate on a batch of chicken meat again from Avicola Clarasi that was withdrawn from trade in the county, with the authorities saying they cannot tell exactly if it is about salmonella.

 

Manastireanu (ANSVSA): Suspicions related to a batch of canned sliced beef at sale in UK are not confirmed

 

Suspicions referring to the batch of canned sliced beef coming from Romania related to which the British authorities implied they contained horse meat were not confirmed, the head of the National Sanitary Veterinary Authority and for Food Safety (ANSVSA), Vladimir Manastireanu, said on Wednesday.

'The accusation of fraud made by the British authorizes didn't confirm and no additional information was released related to this matter', Manastireanu said.

According to the abovementioned source, 926 of the 8,080 beef cans each containing 320 grams of product were still available on the shelves of the supermarkets and the result of the analysis in the laboratory showed that they only had a diminutive amount of horse DNA - 1 percent, within the limited accepted in the European Union.

Last week, a batch of tinned sliced beef was withdrawn from the shelves of two retail chains in the UK following the discovering of a horse DNA. The cans were made in Romania in January 2013, Sky News announced back then.

According to the FSA, the respective batches were withdrawn from the stores because the horse meat was not on the label. The products had the expiry date January 2013, said the source.

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