June 7, 2021

Food producers cannot shut down due to pandemic, says Cherkizovo CEO


At the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia, Sergey Mikhailov, chief executive officer of Cherkizovo Group, recently took part in Rospotrebnadzor's panel discussion "Is the New Normal a Temporary or Permanent Phenomenon?"


The panellists included Anna Popova, head of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing, Chief State Sanitary Physician of the Russian Federation; Alexander Kalinin, president of OPORA RUSSIA; Victoria Panova, vice-rector for international relations at the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU); Mikhail Piotrovsky, general director of the State Hermitage Museum; and Andrey Grachev, vice president for federal and regional programmes at Nornickel.


As part of his appearance, Mikhailov noted that the situation surrounding COVID-19 was an extraordinary one, but as opposed to a host of other industries, meat and other food producers could not just shut down. According to Cherkizovo’s CEO, the company had to change its business processes and make an enormous effort to continue production during the pandemic.


Mikhailov also highlighted Rospotrebnadzor's role in resolving issues facing businesses that arose over the course of the pandemic. "We felt that Rospotrebnadzor did not just act as a regulator, but also as a business partner, which guided and directed us," noted Mikhailov. He added that agricultural businesses were slightly better prepared for COVID-19 than other companies, since epidemics and viruses are a familiar hazard for the industry, as the outbreaks of African swine fever and bird flu have demonstrated.


"It was obvious that we needed a very firm and highly pragmatic approach. Most importantly, what we managed to do, was avoid significant losses and prevent a halt in production," said Mikhailov.


According to Popova, Rospotrebnadzor is confident that no major additional COVID-19 restrictions will be needed. She added that it was impossible to predict how long restrictions would continue, as much will depend on the vaccination rate, as well as how carefully people observe anti-pandemic measures.


- Cherkizovo