KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Some countries in Asia moved to ban imports of poultry products from the United States after the presence of highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza was confirmed on a commercial poultry farm in Lincoln County, Tennessee.
South Korea’s ban went into force on March 6. An outbreak of the H5N6 strain of avian influenza in South Korea and the subsequent cull of about 30 million birds prompted the South Korean government to negotiate a bilateral veterinary agreement that allowed the US to begin exporting shell eggs and some types of processed egg products to South Korea for the first time. South Korea’s ban ends those shipments, but other egg and poultry products still are eligible for export to the country.
Taiwan imposed a ban on imports of all poultry-related products from Tennessee, while Japan and Hong Kong also imposed restrictions.
The USA Poultry & Egg Export Council said in a statement that most trading partners have taken a “measured response” to the incident by following guidelines established by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Additionally, the Animal and Plant Health Administration (APHIS) and the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Dept. of Agriculture are cooperating and working to maintain trade with other countries.
“We hope that countries to which our industry exports will take a regionalized approach when responding to such incidents rather than imposing a nationwide ban,” USAPEEC said. “Korea, which, per current protocols, banned all uncooked US poultry and egg products, including hatching eggs and day-old chicks, continues to work on a regionalization plan with the US that would limit any ban by Korea to the affected state, county, or a designated geographic zone around the affected farm. Korea will still allow imports of pasteurized egg products and cooked poultry.
“We are hopeful that this occurrence of avian influenza will be isolated, as was the last positive detection in Indiana in early 2016. Thanks to the efforts of APHIS and state animal health officials in Tennessee, it may well be.”
APHIS confirmed on March 5 the discovery of the H7 strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza at the Tennessee poultry farm. The premises are within the Mississippi flyway and a flock of 73,500 birds was affected. APHIS quarantined the property while animal health officials planned to cull the birds to prevent the spread of the disease and ensure none of the animals entered the food system.
A previous outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza weighed heavily on US poultry and egg producers. The USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC), Stone Mountain, Georgia, reported in April 2015 the combined value of US poultry and egg exports for the first half of 2015 dropped 14 percent from the same period in 2014 to $2.4054 billion, a decline in value of $386.3 million, based on trade data from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the USDA.