DA bans chicken, bird imports from China

MANILA, Jan. 20 (PNA) — Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala has banned the entry of chicken and chicken products, along with domesticated and wild birds from China’s after its own Ministry of Agriculture confirmed an outbreak of another strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza in north China’s Hebei Province.

In Memorandum Order 1, signed on January 10, 2014, Alcala said the ban covers the importation of domestic and wild birds and their products, including poultry meat, day-old chicks, eggs and semen from the People’s Republic of China.

The ban was ordered after the Chinese ministry submitted a report dated December 21, 2013 to the Office Internationale des Epizooties (OIE), the intergovernmental organization responsible for improving animal health worldwide, which confirmed an outbreak of HPAI virus of the subtype H5N2 in three villages in Hebei Province.

China is considered one of the nations most at risk from bird flu because it has the world’s biggest poultry population.

The H5N2 outbreak comes in the heels of a more widespread outbreak of the H7N9 strain that has already claimed 47 deaths in China since April, 2013.

Alcala said the ban on Chinese chicken, poultry products and birds was designed to prevent the entry of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus into the country to protect the health of the public and the local poultry population.

The order also called for the immediate suspension and processing, evaluation and issuance of veterinary quarantine clearance and International Veterinary Certificate and import permits for the importation of the banned commodities.

All quarantine inspectors and veterinarians of the Department of Agriculture have been ordered to confiscate all shipments of poultry and products from China in a seaports and airports.

Also covered by the order are travelers who may bring in birds, ducks, chicken and other poultry products into the country. (PNA)