PH bans Israel, US poultry amid bird flu outbreak
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has temporarily banned entry of poultry products from Haifa, Israel and Oregon, United States after an outbreak of strains of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus were reported in the said countries.
In a memorandum issued by the Department of Agriculture (DA), importation processes of poultry products from Haifa and Oregon are suspended for the meantime.
These products include poultry meat, day-old chicks, eggs, and semen, according to the memorandum signed by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.
Alcala clarified that the ban does not cover heat-treated products slaughtered or produced before October 31, 2014.
The ban stems from reported outbreaks of avian flu infections in both countries.
On December 14, 2014, an HPAI H5N8 strain was found to have struck a backyard bird flock in Doglas County, Oregon, which killed 20 guinea fowl and two chickens.
Later in February, the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRP) gathered two incidents of HPAI H5N1 outbreak in Israel this year.
Citing a Jerusalem Post report, CIDRP said the first incident occurred in a turkey farm 35 miles south of Haifa, which hit 37,000 turkeys that were eventually culled and buried.
H5N1 also struck a turkey farm in Haifa on January 14, which was followed by another incident in Hadera, northern Israel, which hit chickens and turkeys.
The government is keeping an eye on poultry imports as the country remains untouched by avian flu infections.
This, while the poultry sub-sector booked P189.7 billion ($4.29 billion) of gross earnings in 2014, 7.84% higher year-on-year, according to Alcala.
“We cannot afford then to lose this growth foothold to avian diseases; that is why we are keen on monitoring the entry of products that could threaten the health of our poultry industry,” he said. – Rappler.com
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