CHINA TEMPORARILY BANS IMPORT OF BIRD’S NEST
Vet Dept clarifies situation
FAIRUZ MOHD SHAHAR
AND FAREZZA HANUM RASHID PUTRAJAYA email@example.com
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.