Minister of Rural Affairs Mart Järvik (EKRE) said the Veterinary and Food Administration (VTA) had not provided him with any evidence that M.V.Wool's products were dangerous despite reports they carried a deadly bacteria.
Last week TV programme Pealtnägija reported on listeria bacteria that has been traced back to the M.V.Wool fish plant, the largest in Estonia. The bacteria has been contracted by nine people in Estonia, two of whom died as a result.
Genetic tests commissioned by the VTA determined the bacteria as ST1247 and that it comes from the factory, which is close to Tallinn. Bacteria from this specific strain have been found both in the plant's production building as well as from people that have fallen ill, ERR News wrote last week.
However, Järvik defended the company and said no evidence has been produced in the course of the public oversight procedure to support the claim that the products made by M.V.Wool have caused any deaths.
"The Health Board has consistently expressed the view that existing facts and claims do not support the conclusion that eating M.V.Wool products has resulted in death," the minister said. Adding that media reports had not addressed the topic that food, especially fish, must be stored in the correct way and not eaten by people such as expectant mothers.
The Ministry and the VFB are continually monitoring the fishing industry to make sure dangerous fish products do not reach the consumers' tables, he said.
Järvik said the allegations made in the media were "irresponsible" and "unsubstantial" and were putting the entire Estonian fishing industry at risk and damaging M.V.Wool's reputation.
Editor: Helen Wright