VTA deputy director: Thank Danes for uncovering listeria problem

VTA Deputy Director General Olev Kalda.
VTA Deputy Director General Olev Kalda. Source: ERR

In an appearance on ETV's Esimene stuudio on Wednesday night, Veterinary and Food Board (VTA) Deputy Director General Olev Kalda said that it is the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (DVFA) that should be thanked for exposing the listeria problem in Estonia.

This March, Denmark's DVFA declared M.V.Wool products dangerous. "Here we must indeed thank the Danes for exposing this problem," Kalda said.

He did say, however, that no one can be sure that Estonia wouldn't have otherwise begun a whole genome sequencing of the listeria.

"Whole genome sequencing is definitely a method that has begun to see increasingly broad use, and which we ourselves use as well," he explained. "This is a test method which allows us to tie together a cause and an effect fairly precisely, even almost unequivocally."

Kalda confirmed that the VTA first connected the cause and effect of the listeria strain ST1247 this March — after the Danes' warning.

The deputy director general admitted that all parties involved have had something to learn from the M.V.Wool incident. Nonetheless, he confirmed that the VTA has done everything it could to ensure that no unsafe foods hit any consumers' dinner tables.

"The VTA has dedicated its best people to solving this problem, who have the competences, the experience and the knowledge," he added.

Regarding discrepancies in when Minister of Rural Affairs Mart Järvik (EKRE) allegedly first became aware of the listeria problem at M.V.Wool, Kalda said that the VTA did not conceal any information from the minister.

"The information has been accessible in various forms and by various means," he said. "Ministry representatives have also attended meetings at which the activities of this specific company have been discussed with representatives thereof."


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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