EU lifts ostrich ban
The EU had lifted a four-year ban on the import of fresh ostrich meat from South Africa after an outbreak of H5N2 avian flu, the country’s main exporting region said on Friday.
The 2011 outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza strain hit the R1 billion industry, which exports meat, leather and feathers to its main EU market.
The industry has recovered slightly with the export of processed or preheated meat.
“Resuming exports to the EU will play an important role in increasing the number of jobs in this industry, which currently employs more than 50 000 residents,” said Alan Winde, minister of economic development and tourism in the Western Cape.
About 10 000 ostriches were culled in the Klein Karoo and southern Cape regions in 2011, where the industry is concentrated, after diseased birds were detected in the area.
Outbreaks of avian flu have affected several countries in the recent past, including China, France and the US, and are a health concern because certain virulent strains are deadly to humans.
After the outbreak four years ago, Francois de Wet, the chairperson of the SA Ostrich Business Chamber, said the country had improved its biosecurity measures, such as chlorinating water and restricting the movement of the birds.
De Wet said that South Africa was expected to resume fresh meat exports to the EU after August 26.