DA suspends importation of Japan poultry products

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The Department of Agriculture (DA) has temporarily suspended importation of poultry and other poultry products from Japan because of reported avian influenza outbreak there.

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In Memorandum Order 19-15, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala on Tuesday ordered a temporary ban on the importation of domestic and wild birds—including poultry meat, day old chicks, eggs and semen—originating from Japan to protect the Philippines’ local poultry population, as well as human health.

Based on the report to the Office Internationale Des Epizooties, Japan’s Animal Health Division (AHD)-Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said it has discovered an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus in Izumi-shi, Kagishia; Kasaika-shi, Okayama; and Arita-cho, Saga.

“The outbreaks, pertaining to the whole country, was detected to have been caused by H5N8 HPAI virus affecting broiler and layer farms,” said Dr. Toshiro Kawashima, chief veterinary officer of AHD.

Avian influenza is a highly contagious viral disease affecting several species of food producing birds (chickens, turkeys, quails, guinea fowl, etc.) as well as pet birds and wild birds.

In its notifiable form, the disease can be divided into two categories—high pathogenecity nd low pathogenecity.

HPAI virus spreads rapidly, may cause serious disease and result in high mortality rates (up to 100 percent within 48 hours). The low pathogenic avian influenza can caused mild disease that may be undetected or show no symptoms at all in some species of birds.

In line with the ban, Alcala also ordered immediate suspension of processing and evaluation of the application and issuance of veterinary quarantine clearance on the importation of poultry products from affected Japanese prefectures.

He also mandated the DA’s veterinary quarantine officers or inspectors in all major ports to halt and confiscate all shipments of poultry and poultry products (with the exception of heat treated products) from neighboring countries.

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