CHINA TEM­PO­RAR­ILY BANS IM­PORT OF BIRD’S NEST

Vet Dept clar­i­fies sit­u­a­tion

New Straits Times - - News -

FAIRUZ MOHD SHAHAR

AND FAREZZA HANUM RASHID PUTRAJAYA news@nst.com.my

CHINA has tem­po­rar­ily re­stricted the im­port of ed­i­ble swift­let bird’s nests from Malaysia due to the H5N1 avian flu out­break in Ke­lan­tan.

The Ve­teri­nary Depart­ment said it had writ­ten to the Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties to clar­ify about the dis­ease in Malaysia.

In the let­ter, the depart­ment said that the im­ple­men­ta­tion of three zon­ing pro­cesses — in­fec­tion, con­trol and free zone — was to curb the spread of the dis­ease.

It said six ar­eas in Ke­lan­tan, which were de­tected with H5N1 virus, were placed un­der in­fec­tion zone.

This in­cluded Kota Baru, Ba­chok, Tumpat, Pasir Mas, Pasir Puteh and Tanah Merah.

“Un­der this zone, the task force was mo­bilised to catch and dis­pose of poul­try within a 1km ra­dius from the in­fected lo­ca­tion.

“Un­der con­trol zone, four ar­eas in Ke­lan­tan had yet to be de­tected with H5N1 virus, namely Machang, Jeli, Kuala Krai and Gua Mu­sang. Be­sut in Tereng­ganu is also placed un­der this zone,” it said.

“We con­ducted ac­tive sur­veil­lance, in­clud­ing clin­i­cal ob­ser­va­tion on poul­try and col­lect­ing swabs and car­cass sam­ples.

“Th­ese sam­ples were sent to the Ve­teri­nary Re­search In­sti­tu­tion in Ipoh to test for the pres­ence of the avian in­fluenza virus. We also mon­i­tored the move­ment of poul­try, in­clud­ing en­forc­ing road­blocks,” it said yes­ter­day.

Free zone, the depart­ment said, com­prised states other than Ke­lan­tan that were free of the dis­ease.

“The depart­ment said ac­tive sur­veil­lance and move­ment con­trol were be­ing con­ducted for mon­i­tor­ing.

“We also ex­plained that the pop­u­la­tion of chicken and duck in Ke­lan­tan com­prised only 0.5 per cent of the to­tal pop­u­la­tion na­tion­wide and that the pro­duc­tion of com­mer­cial eggs was done out­side Ke­lan­tan.

“The sources of ed­i­ble bird’s nest, which are meant for ex­port, are from out­side Ke­lan­tan.

“The sup­ply sources can be traced through a sys­tem adopted by the depart­ment,” it said.

The depart­ment added that the pro­cess­ing plant would op­er­ate the heat treat­ment as re­quired by China, where bird’s nest prod­ucts would be heated to 70°Cel­cius, and main­tained for 3.5 sec­onds.

It added that the agri­cul­ture and Agro-Based Min­istry sec­re­tary-gen­eral and the depart­ment’s deputy di­rec­tor-gen­eral would make a work­ing visit to China to ex­plain the bird flu sit­u­a­tion and the mea­sures taken by the au­thor­i­ties.

“Through this work­ing visit, we hope China will lift the tem­po­rary re­stric­tion and al­low the ex­por­ta­tion of bird’s nest to China,” it said.

Last year, Malaysia exported 20.15 met­ric tonnes of bird’s nest, worth RM134.13 mil­lion, to China.

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