Dominican Republic Bids to Restore Meat Exports08 January 2013
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - The Dominican Republic Ministry of Agriculture has set up a new food safety programme in a bid to restore meat exports in the near future.
Agriculture Minister Luis Ramon Rodriguez recently met with the Director General of Livestock, Bolivar Toribio and Animal Health Director, Rafael Nunez, to put forward an operational plan to reopen exports of beef, chicken, pork and eggs to the US and other destinations such as the Caribbean.
As part of the programme, the director of Livestock announced that epidemiological inspection will certify farms and abattoirs in order to ensure that the measures recommended by the authorities and better implemented.
Mr Toribio said that health inspections carried out in the country over the last three years show a low incidence of disease so the authorities' plans should not be delayed.
He said the Ministry of Agriculture is developing a health plan aimed at declaring the Dominican Republic free of diseases such as avian influenza and Newcastle's Disease in chickens.
He also praised the work that has been done within the programme to conquer classical swine fever (CSF) in pigs.
He said that the government is expected to issue a statement shortly calling for exports of pork, chicken and beef to be reopened.
The authorities are taking samples for laboratory analysis to verify the absence of avian influenza, Newcastle's disease and classical swine fever.
"We will proceed to a sampling protocol that will allow us in the near future to certify the country free of Avian Influenza and Newcastle disease in chickens, and classical swine fever in pigs," he said.
In the case of cattle, Mr Toribio said the diseases present in the Dominican Republic are common in most continental countries, and so are not internationally notifiable.
He explained that to export beef it was only necessary to establish a traceability system that contains all the information of the food, such as the source, slaughter date and the name and location of the farm.
"The cattle have no health problems and it is only required to establish a system of inspection that guarantees traceability. This involves adapting slaughterhouses and training livestock exporters," he said.
The Director of Animal Health, Rafael Nunez, said the Dominican Republic is preparing to notify the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) and the countries with which it will market livestock products, about the start of surveillance programmes, to demonstrate their high animal health status and to obtain certification for the areas that have been declared free of disease so that meat exports to international markets can restart.
"We will establish, together with the Ministry of Public Health, a whole meat inspection system that can be validated worldwide, following the patterns that establish international standards for such programmes," said Mr Nunez.
He said that the Dominican Republic protocol complies with the procedures required by the World Trade Organization (WTO) for the marketing of livestock products.