To­day in the USA

High alert as bird flu is back

The Poultry Bulletin - - CONTENTS -

AI hits breeder flock

The spec­tre of bird flu has sent tremors through the US poul­try breed­ers as an out­break of H7 avian in­fluenza has been found in a com­mer­cial chicken breeder flock in Lin­coln County, Ten­nessee. The farm sup­plies poul­try to meat gi­ant Tyson Foods.

This omi­nous de­vel­op­ment

is first con­firmed case of highly path­o­genic avian in­fluenza in com­mer­cial poul­try in the United States this year, and the USDA has started a com­pre­hen­sive epi­demi­o­log­i­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tion in sur­round­ing ar­eas to­gether with en­hanced sur­veil­lance and test­ing. Sev­eral days af­ter this out­break, the low path­o­genic H5N2 strain was de­tected on a farm in Wis­con­sin, more than 900 kilo­me­tres from Ten­nessee.

In keep­ing with ex­ist­ing avian in­fluenza re­sponse plans, the OIE (World Or­gan­i­sa­tion for An­i­mal Health) says the USDA An­i­mal and Plant Health In­spec­tion Ser­vice, to­gether with the Ten­nessee Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture, are re­spond­ing to the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the highly path­o­genic avian in­fluenza H7 of north Amer­i­can wild bird lin­eage de­tec­tion in a chicken broiler breeder flock. Fur­ther virus char­ac­ter­i­za­tion in­clud­ing N-type is pend­ing.

The af­fected premises have been quar­an­tined by au­thor­i­ties and move­ment con­trols have been im­ple­mented. Ap­prox­i­mately 700 birds on the farm died from the in­fec­tion, while a fur­ther 72 000 were later culled.

Don’t ban us pleads US

Fol­low­ing the first out­break of bird flu in the coun­try in more than a year, large Asian poul­try im­porters have been asked not to ban im­ports of US poul­try.

The plea by the USA’S Poul­try Egg Ex­porters Coun­cil for these coun­tries to adopt a re­gion­alised or com­part­men­talised stance to­wards US im­ports fol­lows moves by Hong Kong, Ja­pan, South Korea and Tai­wan to limit US poul­try im­ports. This would mean that im­port bans would only be en­forced on prod­ucts orig­i­nat­ing from states where bird flu is present, while oth­ers yet un­af­fected would still be free to ex­port glob­ally.

Ja­pan and Hong Kong have both im­posed some re­stric­tions, Tai­wan has com­pletely banned all poul­try im­ports from Ten­nessee, while South Korea has banned all cooked poul­try and egg prod­ucts, in­clud­ing hatch­ing eggs and day-old chicks.

What’s in a la­bel?

The dis­cus­sion over hor­mones in poul­try prod­ucts con­tin­ues un­abated in the US, al­though a lo­cal sci­en­tific as­so­ci­a­tion has la­belled hor­mone-free poul­try claims as mis­lead­ing.

The Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion Aviana Pathol­o­gists says the de­bate on which kind of chicken is health­ier and safer for con­sumers - the brand with the no-non­sense la­bel or the pre­mium brand that claims its chick­ens were “raised with­out added hor­mones” – is point­less, as it makes no dif­fer­ence at all. The rea­son? It’s sim­ply that chick­ens don’t re­ceive added hor­mones any­way.

“Even though some poul­try prod­ucts may state they are ‘raised with­out added hor­mones’ on the la­bel, you can have con­fi­dence that all prod­ucts, so la­belled or not, are in fact raised with­out added hor­mones,” the as­so­ci­a­tion said.

The AAAP says the mod­ern poul­try in­dus­try has never used hor­mones or steroids to raise com­mer­cial broil­ers, tur­keys or egg lay­ers.

“In fact, no hor­mones or steroids are ap­proved by the US Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion for use in poul­try, and do­ing so via the wa­ter, feed or in­jec­tion is specif­i­cally pro­hib­ited by law.”

Only chicken

Fast food com­pany Sub­way has ve­he­mently re­jected claims by the Cana­dian Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion sug­gest­ing its chicken is “roughly half soy”, say­ing its own tests have found less than 1% soy in its prod­uct. Soy is used to help main­tain mois­ture and tex­ture.

Sub­way says the claim that its white meat was only 50% chicken was “100% wrong”, base­less and mis­lead­ing.

“We only use chicken, with added spices, sea­son­ing and mari­nade,” the com­pany says.¡

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