Bird flu hits West Africa

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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.

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