YEREVAN, September 27. / ARKA /. Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian denied today any connection with imports of Indian buffalo meat and called on political parties to stop linking his name to this business.
"Well-known political forces are trying to discredit me, linking my name to the import of buffalo meat from India. I do not have any connection with buffalo meat importing companies. I have no friends in them, neither relatives nor other people connected with me, “ the prime minister said at a Cabinet session.
The prime minister asked Abram Bakhchagulian, head of Food Safety Service, to pr vide information about the companies importing buffalo meat. According to Bakhchagulian, in 2011 six companies brought in 10,300 tons of buffalo meat. The largest importer was Alex Group accounting for over 61 percent.
In the first nine months of this year 5000 tons were imported. The largest importer was Parkev Company accounting for 34.23%. Bakhchagulian said meat imports are handled by companies with at least 10 year experience in running meat factories. Bakhchagulian said no violations were detected over the last two years.
In 2010 the government of Armenia approved a special procedure for import of buffalo meat from India. A year earlier a working group was set up by the prime minister to address the issue and several Armenian delegations visited meat factories in India to be dissatisfied with their sanitary conditions. The delegations came to the conclusion that Armenia should purchase meat only from five Indian companies.
In order to ensure full control over this process, the government has appointed a specialist to work in India in collaboration with these companies and give permissions to Armenian companies to buy meat. Buffalo meat from India is used in Armenia for production of sausages.
In line with the government decision, only those Indian companies which have at least ten years experience, have their own slaughterhouse, processing plants and freezing facilities meeting world standards can export meat to Armenia. -0-