Temporary ban on importation of live birds

A temporary ban has been imposed on importing live birds, poultry and poultry products from the United States and Canada.

In a Government release yesterday, Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Mark Trotman said this was due to an outbreak of a new strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus, commonly referred to as “bird flu”.

He added this strain of the virus could affect people, especially those who interact or work with infected birds, or potentially infected mammals.

Permits for all personal imports of live birds, hatching eggs and all poultry products (fresh, frozen and chilled) from the US and Canada are suspended with immediate effect, and any personal permits previously issued have been revoked.

Only fully cooked poultry products in hermetically sealed packages (cans) will be permitted.

The release added that safe poultry products for importation must be heat-treated, dried and canned, and such products include feathers and dry/canned dog food.

Trotman said the restrictions do not apply to commercial imports, since those products will be officially certified by the appropriate veterinary authorities as having originated from disease-free areas only, and therefore safe to import and consume. (BGIS/BW)

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