YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Armenian government on Thursday introduced changes in its previous decision regarding the order of control over the quality of food and meat products, which it says will bring food quality in Armenia closer to European standards.
Grigor Baghian, Head of the State Food Safety and Veterinary Inspection at the Ministry of Agriculture, said the measures approved by the government will, in particular, ensure that only high quality food products meeting European requiremen’s are imported to Armenia and exported from here to other countries.
“The order will allow us to provide our consumers only with quality products in the future,” Baghian told reporters after the government meeting.
At the same time, Baghian admitted that the situation on the market of organic food in Armenia’still remains far from European standards.
In particular, he mentioned the butcher’s shops at one of Yerevan’s biggest markets where a recent inspection revealed multiple violations of the sanitary regime.
“Armenia now does not have large meat factories that used to operate in the Soviet times. Cattle are usually slaughtered in domestic conditions, which explains the current inadmissible situation on the market,” Baghian said.
Even so, Baghian said corresponding bodies are doing everything to control the situation.
“Our controls of food products, especially those of organic origin, are exercised in the village, on the roads, and on the market,” Baghian said. “When we have big slaughter-houses, it will be easier to exercise control there as all data pertaining to the product will be immediately included in the package.”
All products of organic origin must be examined by veterinarians before appearing on the market and then tested by experts once they reach the sales outlets.
Baghian said two cases of cattle disease have already been revealed in Armenia during the month of August. In both cases, one of which was anthrax, meat was not allowed to enter the market.
The ministry’s specialist dispelled all concerns about possible foot and mouth disease cases in Armenia, saying that the situation is stable and under control. At the same time, he did not exclude possible cases of African swine fever in Armenia as its neighbor Georgia is known to have been hit by an outbreak of this animal disease lately. However, Baghian says, corresponding agencies are taking all measures to contain the possible spread of this disease into Armenia.