An audit found official veterinarians have insufficient knowledge of EU requirements and production processes and the system of supervision is insufficient to guarantee certification requirements for products intended for export to the EU are met.
Rosselkhoznadzor (The Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance) responded to the findings, saying personnel carrying out official checks at such plants and responsible for certification are regularly trained in EU requirements, in response to recommendations from the audit.
“Such trainings are organised at the establishments, which supply or plan to supply their products to the territory of the EU Member States, and at the competent bodies,” said the Russian agency.
“...in 2014 Rosselkhoznadzor organised and held a number of seminars on EU requirements, including in production and certification of milk and dairy products and raw casings intended for the EU.”
Mixed response to previous recommendations
FVO said measures taken by the Russian authorities to address seven recommendations of the 2010 audit have also not been satisfactorily implemented.
On the basis of a desk evaluation, three were satisfactorily addressed; training, analytical methods for somatic cell count and total bacterial count and to deficiencies at establishment level.
The four objectives not satisfactorily addressed were raw milk quality criteria, testing procedure for potable water, certification of dairy products and on-farm records of treatment with veterinary medical products.
“The CCA has not fully implemented the guarantees given to address the recommendation of the previous FVO 2010 audit report regarding keeping registers of veterinary treatments of food producing animals,” said the FVO.
“[It] did not demonstrate that the quality criteria for raw milk, used for the production of EU eligible dairy products, meet the relevant EU requirements and, as a consequence have not fulfilled the commitments made in relation to previous FVO recommendations.”
At the time of the audit in September last year three out of 15 listed dairy processing plants export to the EU, exporting ice cream and cheeses.
For traceability, labelling and identification marking the FVO said none of the sites was producing EU eligible products or had products in storage and simulation of EU production did not take place.
Regarding traceability, the SVS and the territorial Rosselkhodznadzor rely mainly on information from the food and business operator (FBO) without in-depth verification and, in a few cases, without sufficient knowledge of the process.
No non-compliances were identified in any of the establishments during official controls in the last three annual visits and during the yearly inspection.
However, the audit found potential contamination of raw material in production areas (floors with pooled water, old dirt on ceiling, corroded overhead structures with flaking paint and dirty ventilation).
It also found potential contamination in production areas (use of dirty crates directly in contact with the products, corroded overhead structure, use of a worn-out conveyor belt and rusty equipment (both in direct contact with the cheeses), dirty ventilation, storage of dirty packaging material).
“The official control system in place is not fully effective and does take sufficiently into account the relevant EU requirements on general and specific hygiene requirements, microbiological criteria and traceability of all ingredients,” said the FVO.
Rosselkhoznadzor said inspection of a site is held at production of products intended for exports to the EU (from the receipt of the raw material until its release for turnover).
“Each establishment approved for supplies to the EU Member States has developed and implements instructions on the products production procedure.
“During the inspection of one of the establishments by the FVO auditors the inspection of the establishment by members of the competent body and the regional veterinary service was demonstrated, including the assessment of the existing traceability system.”