KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Mexico, Canada and the European Union have banned poultry imports from Arkansas. Missouri, Minnesota, California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington already have been hit with bans or trade restrictions on raw poultry, poultry products and by-products. China and South Korea imposed total bans on US poultry imports due to earlier cases of avian influenza.

Broiler exports totaled 7.3 million lbs. in 2014, according to data provided by the National Chicken Council. Arkansas ranks second in broiler production behind Georgia.

Trade groups representing the US poultry industry moved to assure consumers that "detailed response plans" are in place for controlling the spread of avian influenza. In a statement the groups said the network of state and federal agencies already have implemented quarantines on any affected flocks to reduce the impact of the virus and prevent its spread.

“The US government and poultry industries have sophisticated systems and techniques to detect the introduction of the virus into a commercial poultry flock and have proven methods to quickly eliminate the virus,” the groups wrote. “The US poultry industry has a strong avian influenza testing and detection program administered by the federal National Poultry Improvement Plan, in addition to each state’s individual response plan. Poultry farmers also maintain strict biosecurity measures year-round, keep their flocks protected from wild birds and routinely test flocks for avian influenza.”

Small view of Kansas movement control order area
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The ban comes just as Kansas issued a movement control order on live poultry products in specific areas in two counties for signs of avian influenza. The Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) is monitoring Cherokee and Crawford counties for signs of the H5N2 avian influenza virus after a confirmed case was found in Jasper County, Mo., near the Kansas state line.

“It is important to know where backyard flocks of poultry exist, said Dr. Bill Brown, State Animal Health Commissioner. We have also been in contact with commercial poultry farmers in the region.” 

KDA is asking backyard poultry owners to self-report their flocks. Many wild birds carry avian influenza viruses which can be transmitted by contact with infected animals or ingestion of infected food or water. The agency is asking poultry owners to monitor their flocks for symptoms which include coughing, sneezing, respiratory distress, decreased egg production and sudden death.

 “We are dedicated to providing the necessary assistance and precautions to avoid any possible spreading of the disease,” Brown said.