For more than 60 years, the Belgorod Interregional Veterinary Laboratory has been protecting food security and epizootic well-being in the region. Its history is closely intertwined with the history of the region, and its roots date back to the beginning of the last century to the Zemstvo veterinary service of the Kursk district, which then included Belgorod.
At the time of the formation of the Belgorod region in 1954, the epizootic situation in the region was very tense. According to official statistics, a large number of contagious diseases were recorded here, including such as equine infectious anaemia and pyroplasmosis of horses, anthrax, foot-and-mouth disease, tuberculosis, brucellosis, rabies of cattle and small cattle, swine eruption and swine fever, Newcastle disease and many others, which caused significant damage to livestock. Almost all 394 farms, mainly small collective farms and state farms, were affected by infectious and invasive diseases. Available in the region - inter-district Belgorod, district - Starooskolskaya, Alekseevskaya, Korochanskaya, Valuyskaya laboratories - had a weak material base, were located in adapted premises, could only conduct simple studies. The development of animal breeding in the newly organized region required a radical improvement in all veterinary and preventive and diagnostic work. It was necessary not only to defeat diseases, but also to achieve the safety of young people.
It was then, in August 1954, by order of the Belgorod Regional Department of Agriculture, a regional veterinary and bacteriological laboratory was organized on the basis of the Belgorod interdistrict veterinary laboratory. She was subordinated to the veterinary department of the Regional Department of Agriculture. In those years, the laboratory was located in three rooms of residential building No. 34 on K. Marx Street, today it is an avenue of the 50th anniversary of the Belgorod Region. They started with three departments: bacteriological, serological and chemical. The team was small, led by Tatyana Varfolomeevna Lyakh.
Specialists of the laboratory constantly went to the farms, together with the district specialists carried out the necessary medical and preventive measures to improve animals.
In 1955-1957, the regional laboratory began to be strengthened by new equipment and young specialists. In 1960-1961, new departments were created here, headed by their young specialists.
At one time, the laboratory was led by directors - Tatyana Varfolomeevna Lyakh (1954-1961), Galina Nikolaevna Kharlamova (1961-1962), Peter Fedorovich Ovcharenko (1962-1973 and 1976 -1981), Alexander Fedorovich Nikulin (1973-1976), Oleg Valentinovich Babenko (1988-1998), Alexander Ivanovich Yadykin (1998-2001). All of them left a noticeable mark in the life of the team and did a lot for the development of the laboratory.
From 2001 to the present, the institution is headed by Sergey Borisovich Noskov. He went from a veterinarian to a lab director. He had to start working in a difficult perestroika period. But the young director managed not only to save the team, but also did a lot for the development of the production base. The laboratory continued to produce medicines for farms, specialists provided consulting assistance, and improved their professional level. In 2005, the laboratory became a subordinate institution of the Federal veterinary and phytosanitary monitoring service of Russian Federation, and from here begins a new page in its history.
Outpost between the field and the consumer table
Currently, Belgorod IVL is engaged not only in veterinary, but also in phytosanitary activities, participates in the certification of food products, food raw materials, feed and seeds. Its conclusions are considered not only in Russia, but also abroad. This was made possible thanks to the accreditation of the laboratory in world and European accreditation bodies. The first of the veterinary laboratories of Russia subordinate to the Federal veterinary and phytosanitary monitoring service of Russian Federation, FSBI Belgorod IVL passed the exam for compliance with the requirements of the international standard ISO 17025. The accreditation was carried out by the Danish Accreditation Body (DANAK), a full member of ILAK (International cooperation between accreditation bodies of laboratories and inspection bodies). The accreditation area includes three areas: chemical and microbiological research methods, food testing. International accreditation allows the laboratory to be recognized at the world level, become a guarantor of compliance with regulatory, legislative and other legal requirements when obtaining laboratory services, receive marketing benefits (bonuses with participation in tenders, contracts), as well as improve the image of the laboratory. Within six years, the laboratory confirms its competence by successfully auditing DANAK representatives.
In addition, the laboratory has another international accreditation. The Seed Quality and Certification Division, which became a member of the Belgorod IVL in 2006, was successfully accredited to the International Seed Quality Control Association - ISTA. This not only raises the status of the laboratory, but also increases its responsibility.
International certificates issued by organizations accredited to the ISTA system are the most authoritative and recognized by state bodies of all countries. The accreditation will also enhance the Russian Federation's ability to export crop seeds. Accreditation has already been successfully confirmed twice.
Over the 14 years of the institution's existence in the structure of the Federal veterinary and phytosanitary monitoring service of Russian Federation, more than a billion rubles have been invested in the development of the laboratory, the necessary base has been formed that helps to conduct comprehensive control over safety indicators, both livestock and crop products, and feed.
Today, the laboratory structure has 21 departments, eleven of them are specialized. The service area includes Belgorod and Tambov and Voronezh regions.
The laboratory has accreditation for 3,500 research methods, conducts up to a million studies per year, together with the Federal veterinary and phytosanitary monitoring service of Russian Federation’s participates in food and epizootic monitoring.
Researches which are conducted by laboratory allow to provide timely diagnostics and prevention of diseases of animals, monitoring of the forbidden and hazardous substances in products of animal and plant origin, sterns, feed additives. Here, vegetables, fruits, feed for the content of nitrates, nitrites, pesticides are studied, water analyses are carried out.
New equipment and high skills of personnel made it possible to master the determination of residual amounts of medicinal substances in livestock products. Four new installations that the laboratory has acquired are able to detect even 10,000 shares of the content of medicines. This direction is a priority today and is of great importance for determining the quality and safety of products.
Within two hours, specialists can establish the purity of dairy products, including butter, cheeses, which is very important in connection with the frequent cases of falsification of these products. Also, the laboratory accurately determines gene-modified sources, species belonging to tissues of animal and plant origin, which also makes it possible to identify falsified products.
Laboratory specialists constantly go on internships to leading laboratories both in our country and abroad.
Today Belgorod region is the largest producer of poultry and pork meat in the country, which means it is a promising supplier of meat to the European and Asian markets. The laboratory is a reliable assistant for enterprises that are preparing to enter international markets with their products. Numerous inspections from different countries who came to the region consistently noted the high level of organization of control over the safety of products offered for export. And the validity of the studies conducted here is confirmed by successful participation in inter-laboratory comparison tests.
The plant quarantine department, which became part of the laboratory in 2006 and currently has a structural unit in Tambov, is successfully working and developing. Today, 20% of the studies are carried out in the phytosanitary direction, of which 15% are plant quarantine studies, 4% are seed quality and soil research.
The competence of the laboratory includes agrochemical studies of the soil, the determination of toxic elements in it, the calculation of damage caused to the soil after negligent economic activity.
The laboratory examines seeds and planting material, while not only determining their seed and planting qualities, but also the content of GMOs in them. In this direction, almost all the largest seed suppliers cooperate with the laboratory. A special area of work is plant quarantine. The task of the department specialists is to identify in a timely manner the quarantine types of weeds, nematodes, pests and diseases that can cause great damage to agriculture, in particular crop production, not only in the field, but also on a larger scale. The work area is very large and complex. The list of quarantine organisms is constantly expanding and for the correct diagnosis of them it is necessary to have modern devices and equipment, including for molecular research. In addition, a fumigation squad was formed from the specialists of the department, which successfully works at the largest processing enterprises of the region, using modern equipment and drugs for preventive decontamination and control of pests of reserves and weed vegetation.
The largest veterinary laboratory in the region has long become cramped in old buildings. Among the five veterinary institutions of Russia, the Belgorod Interregional Veterinary Laboratory is included in the federal target program "National Chemical and Biological Safety System." Now the construction of a new building is being completed, which will double the production area of the laboratory. The old buildings will undergo changes, they will be completely reconstructed in accordance with safety requirements.
Together with the Federal veterinary and phytosanitary monitoring service of Russian Federation, whose structural division is the laboratory, its specialists ensure the safety of agricultural products, which forms the basis of the consumer basket, which means they are on the guard of the health of the nation.