Bird flu hits West Africa
As disease dies down, the focus is on prevention
Bird flu hits West Africa
Nigeria, the Ivory Coast, Niger, Ghana and Burkina Faso have all been battling outbreaks of the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu strain that has ravaged poultry farms and markets in west Africa, decimating flocks and raising fears of health risks to local populations. The UN’S Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said more than 330 million people could be affected by the outbreak if it isn’t contained as food security as well as the health of the populace and the local economy could be compromised. The FAO has urged other West African
countries so far unaffected by H5N1 to remain vigilant and step up their monitoring and surveillance for any signs of the disease.
Biosecurity call for US farms
US farmers are being encouraged to redouble their efforts using basic biosecurity measures to try and halt the spread of diseases like highly pathogenic avian influenza, with industry stakeholders coming out strongly with this message.
“There are three general principles,” says Shawn Carlton, technical service manager at Cobb-vantress. “Go to a farm, leave the farm clean, and if in doubt, clean and disinfect.”
India must comply with WTO import decision
According to a recent item in the Washington Report, India has been directed to modify their blanket ban on importation of broiler meat from the US.
The previous decision by the appeal panel was ratified during a June 19 meeting of the WTO in Geneva. The import ban imposed by India was declared inconsistent with international protocols since it was not based on scientific standards and was more restrictive than necessary, effectively discriminating against US exports.
Professor Simon Shane says it remains to be seen whether India will comply with the ruling or will continue to ban imports based on the recent outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in specific Midwest states not involved in broiler production. In any event, India will have no excuse 90 days after the last infected flock was depleted and providing there will be no further outbreaks during the period.
WTO rules based on OIE protocols recognise regionalisation and according to US trade negotiators “the country should not maintain measures that apply to the→
whole territory of a member when a disease outbreak is limited to a specific region”.
US alert over Marek’s Disease
Following the devastating outbreak of avian influenza in 15 US states that decimated flocks with 48 million birds culled, the US Department of Agriculture is embarking on a preemptive programme to prevent Marek’s Disease, a contagious virus that causes tumours and mortality in poultry flocks. The intention is to produce an effective vaccine platform that protects flocks against emerging strains of the virus.
“Although the disease is currently under control in most parts of the world and current vaccines are highly effective, the USDA has previously reported shifts in Marek’s Disease virus virulence over time due to multiple causes,” says Dr Aly Fadly of the USDA’S Agricultural Research Service.
EU set to grow production
Notwithstanding the ban on EU imports imposed by Russia, poultry production in the European Union is set to increase during 2015 according to a recent report. The ‘Short-term Outlook for EU arable crops, dairy and meat markets in 2015 to 2016’ says poultry production looks to be encouraged by low feed prices, with production growth likely to exceed more than 2% or 240,000 tons. For the first quarter of 2015, net production increased by 4% compared to the corresponding period in 2014. EU poultry exports grew by over 5% in the first four months of the year, driven by markets in Africa like Ghana and Benin, as well as the Philippines in Asia.
UK confirms more flu
Another case of avian influenza has been confirmed at a British poultry farm, with the authorities imposing a 10-kilometre control zone around the affected facility and instituting a cull of infected birds.
The virus, the H7N7 strain, poses little risk to public health, but authorities are taking no chances, especially given the recent widespread outbreak of AI that halted exports of UK poultry to South Africa.
WTO to review Chinese dispute
The World Trade Organisation will establish as panel to rule on Chinese claims that the European Union has restricted access to its markets by Chinese poultry producers.
The WTO will decide on whether Chinese poultry exporters should have been granted larger export quotas when the EU negotiated additional market access to Brazilian and Thai exporters in 2012.
“This has caused significant damage to the interests of Chinese poultry meat
producers and exporters,” said a Chinese diplomat.
Should the panel rule in China’s favour, this would effectively mean that the EU would be required to admit more Chinese poultry.
Exports up but production down
The recent devaluation of the Hryvnia, the Ukraine’s currency, has led to a marked increase in poultry exports in the first six months of the year. In spite of this, overall production has declined after several years of growth, with the Ukraine’s Institute of Agrarian Economics reporting poultry production dropping by 5%, equating to 1.5-million tons.
US chicken recalled
Aspen Foods, a major US poultry producer, has recalled almost 900,000 kilograms of raw, frozen, stuffed and breaded chicken that could be contaminated with salmonella Enteritidis. Following a report of a cluster of salmonella Enteritidis illnesses, the US Food Safety and Inspection Service determined that there was a link between these infections and the Aspen Foods’ products. The authority said that while the product appeared to be cooked, it is actually raw and should be handled with care to avoid cross contamination in the kitchen.
Thai firm buys Russian
Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF), a Thailand-based company, is to invest US$680 million in the purchase of two major poultry farms in the Leningrad Oblast of Russia.
An official company report says the transaction includes the Severnayay and Voiskovitsy farms, which jointly produce 180,000 tons of poultry every year.
“The deal will give CPF an opportunity to expand into the Russian market, providing the company with a strong presence in Moscow and St Petersburg,” said president and CEO, Adirek Sripratak.