Bird flu sparks Asian bans for US eggs and poultry

US chicken farmers have seen trade restrictions placed on eggs and meat

Heavyweight Asian nations have been asked not to apply nationwide import bans on US poultry, as America fights its first outbreak of avian influenza (AI) in 14 months.

The USA Poultry Egg Exporters Council (USAPEEC) said it hoped South Korea would apply a regional ban on American poultry.

This comes after a commercial US chicken farm reported the first outbreak in 14 months of the highly pathogenic AI strain H7. The farm in Lincoln County, Tennessee, supplied chicken to US meat giant Tyson Foods and has had to cull 73,500 birds.

Responding to the outbreak, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong all limited US poultry imports.

Hopeful of stopping AI

Taiwan banned all poultry-related products from Tennessee; Japan and Hong Kong imposed some restrictions; and South Korea banned cooked poultry and egg products, including hatching eggs and day-old chicks.

USAPEEC said it hoped the aforementioned countries, in addition to other US egg and poultry importers, would “take a regionalised approach” to any trade restrictions.

This would see bans enforced only on states where AI is present, disease-free regions would still be free to trade globally.

South Korea is said to be working on a regionalisation plan with the US, according to the USAPEEC.

We are hopeful that this occurrence of AI will be isolated, as was the last positive detection in Indiana in early 2016,” said USAPEEC in a statement.
Thanks to the efforts of [the Animal Plant Health and Inspection Service] and state animal health officials in Tennessee, it may well be.

Several days after the outbreak of AI on the Tennessee farm, the low pathogenic AI strain H5N2 was identified on a farm in the US state of Wisconsin, more than 900 kilometres from Tennessee.

A multi-strain bird flu epidemic has swept across the world and, since the beginning of 2014, more than 77 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and America have reported the virus, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

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