We successfully represented Atria, one of the biggest meat producers in Estonia, in their dispute with the Estonian Veterinary and Food Board (VTA). The decision of the Supreme Court of Estonia (no 3-18-81) has a significant impact on the entire food and meat industry.

Focus on the handling of meat from pigs purchased during the incubation period of an infection

The dispute arose from the Veterinary and Food Board’s order for the company to destroy all meat originating from a farm where African swine fever virus was discovered following the purchase and processing of pigs. The Supreme Court identified that the order by the Veterinary and Food Board was unlawful, as the legal provision on which it was based was incorrect and the Veterinary and Food Board did offer Atria the chance to submit their opinion or objections.

First time EU and Estonian laws have been interpreted in the field

This judgement is of special importance to the meat and food industry. The judgement, which redefines judicial practice, sees the Supreme Court interpret European Union and Estonian laws regarding the handling of meat from pigs purchased during the incubation period of the infection and the rights and duties of the participants in such a situation for the first time.

In a second dispute connected to the terminated court case, the meat industry has submitted a claim for compensation from the state. The focus of the dispute, currently before the administrative court, is that unlike for pig farmers, the law does not provide compensation for losses due to African swine fever virus for the meat and food industry.

Our project team

Atria was represented by our counsel Karl Kask in all three instances.

More information can be found in the Decision of the Estonian Supreme Court.