April 24, 2015


Poultry exports rejected as US faces 'worst' bird flu in 3 decades



As new cases of highly pathogenic H5N2 bird flu on turkey farms in Minnesota and South Dakota were reported this week, the World Organisation for Animal Health (Office of International des Epizooties, or OIE) said the US poultry industry might be facing the worst outbreak of deadly bird flu in over three decades.


"They are dealing with a level of exposure that is probably unprecedented back to the outbreak in 1983 in Delaware and Pennsylvania," Brian Evans, a deputy director general at the Paris-based OIE told a US news website.


Several international trade partners of the US have refused to buy egg and poultry products from Minnesota, South Dakota and other Midwestern states affected by the deadly strain of bird flu, according to an AP report on Friday.


It said over 7 million birds (turkeys and chickens) have been killed since March due to the H5N2 virus. 


China, Russia, South Korea and Thailand are among the countries that have closed all poultry-product imports from the US, while 33 countries (including Mexico, Japan and Canada) have selectively declined poultry products from entire states like Iowa, the US' No. 1 egg producer, and Minnesota, the leading turkey grower.


Hong Kong and some other countries have limited the ban to virus-affected counties, while still others including Honduras, Kazakhstan and Qatar have required products to be heated to a temperature that will kill the virus.


Jim Sumner, president of the US Poultry & Egg Association, said on Thursday (April 23) they would like countries that are restricting on a statewide basis to "go down to a county level", adding that 110 countries continue to export US poultry products with no restrictions.


The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said it was working with the poultry industry to mitigate the impact on exports.


"We are actively engaging with most of these countries to reduce these restrictions," USDA spokesperson Joelle Hayden said.


Minnesota and Wisconsin have declared a state of emergency.

Video >

Follow Us