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March 4, 2021

Head of Sanitary-Veterinary body resigns

Mihai Turcanu stepped down following new food contamination alert. There are suspicions that turkey meat with antibiotics has been exported to Germany by a Romanian farm.

Turkey meat with antibiotic residues reached German stores from a Romanian farm, an alert being issued through the Rapid Alert System. The announcement was made yesterday by National Sanitary-Veterinary and Food Safety Agency (ANSVSA) Vice President Vladimir Manastireanu. According to the data sent from Germany through the Rapid Alert System, the source of the contaminated meat is a Romanian farm that exported turkey meat with antibiotic residues. Manastireanu pointed out that after receiving the alert ANSVSA inspectors went to the farm to conduct an investigation into the farm’s turkey meat exports within the EU. The results will be announced in several days. ANSVSA Vice President added that the investigation will show where the suspected turkey meat ended up. He pointed out that the moment a suspicion is transmitted through the Rapid Alert System the whole quantity of suspected meat is pulled from stores. Manastireanu added that sanitary-veterinary inspectors will take samples that will be sent to the laboratory, the results set to be announced in four to seven days’ time. Manastireanu added that nothing is being withheld from the press but data on the turkey meat is confidential for the moment. “We have to see whether the German authorities’ allegations are confirmed. I don’t know exactly what quantity is incriminated. If this case existed on the rapid alert system there are limits for antibiotics administered to poultry. Antibiotic treatments are being done only if there is a suspicion of contagious disease at the farm. What we have now on the Romanian market is good for consumption. If companies export poultry the latter have to be accompanied by analysis reports,” he pointed out.

The meat sample was taken on February 7 and the analyses were confirmed yesterday. The alert was issued through the European Union’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed. Likewise, the Union of Romanian Poultry Farmers (UCPR) contests the accuracy of the traceability process, since the label on the shelf had the name of the processor on it. “The origin of the meat was established only based on the statement of the processor, without there being a label that would attest the origin of the meat,” a UCPR communiqué reads, being quoted by Mediafax. According to UCPR, the turkey meat was exported in mid-2012, samples being taken from meat products on the shelf after 7 months. “The imports were made by a trader who then sold it to a turkey meat processor in Germany, who processes turkey meat from other suppliers too. (…) Turkey meat producers in Romania are subjected to permanent ANSVSA controls and the analyses in 2012 did not turn out samples that would point to the existence of antibiotic residues in meat,” the Union shows. UCPR points out that the use of antibiotics in pultry is allowed within the EU for curative treatments, not for systematic use in poultry farming.

PM: Last year we avoided drought, now we face the panic of discoveries

Premier Victor Ponta announced yesterday that ANSVSA will have a different leadership. The institution is currently led by Mihai Turcanu, backed by PNL. “I watch with a lot of concern – and so does the Agriculture Minister – all signals that we are receiving in what concerns food safety, sanitary-veterinary procedures. I believe it’s an extremely important and sensitive domain. We risk falling into a national and European panic and realizing we cannot consume anything. I am talking about the message given to the population and our economic interest in what concerns the producers. They avoided drought last year and this year there is the panic of discoveries.” Thus, the Premier, Agriculture Minister and ANSVA President talked about the reorganization of the institution yesterday. Mihai Turcanu resigned from the helm of ANSVSA shortly thereafter, official sources informed. Farmers and food industry representatives criticized the head of ANSVSA for “lack of professionalism” following the contaminated milk scandal.


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