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Philippines bans import of chicken, eggs, ducks from 4 countries

Author: DA-AFID | 10 January 2017

The Philippines is banning the importation of all poultry products, including dressed and deboned chicken, eggs, and ducks effective immediately following the outbreak of Avian Influenza or Bird Flu in Europe and Asia.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said he has directed Dr. Enrico Garzon, Assistant Secretary for Livestock and acting director of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), to implement the ban immediately to protect the country’s poultry and duck industry.

Affected immediately by the ban on importation of chicken and poultry products are imports from South Korea, Germany, France and Netherlands.

“During the weekend, I have signed directives specifically identifying the following countries with total ban to export chicken and poultry products and ducks to the Philippines,” Piñol said.

Pending the review of the status of the poultry and duck industry in other countries, Piñol said the only countries which will be allowed to export eggs, chicken and ducks to the Philippines are the United States of America, Canada and Australia.

These three countries are exempted from the ban mainly because they never had reported cases of Avian Flu or poultry diseases and also because they have always implemented stringent quarantine measures, the DA secretary said.

In spite of this, strict quarantine measures will be implemented even for products coming from the three exempted countries.

All other countries which are not listed here as exempt from the ban will also be temporarily banned from exporting chicken, eggs and ducks and other poultry products to the Philippines pending a review of their health status.

“As Secretary of Agriculture, I have to take drastic measures to protect the country’s poultry and duck industry and also the health of the Filipinos. I expect to receive complaints and requests for reconsideration from the countries affected by the ban but I am appealing to our trading partners to understand our position, Piñol said.

According to HealthLine, a health website; “Bird flu, also called avian influenza, is a viral infection that can also infect humans and other animals. Most forms of the virus are restricted to birds.”

“H5N1 is the most common form of bird flu. It’s deadly to birds, and can easily affect humans and other animals that come in contact with a carrier. According to the World Health Organization, H5N1 was first discovered in humans in 1997, and has killed nearly 60 percent of those infected. Currently, the virus isn’t known to spread via human-to-human contact. Still, some experts worry that H5N1 may pose a risk of becoming a pandemic threat to humans,” the website HealthLine noted.

The Philippines has never had cases of bird flu mainly because it is isolated by the bodies of water which surround Philippine islands and does not share borders with other countries.

“We are also one of the very few countries in the world which have been declared as totally free from “Foot and Mouth Disease” affecting livestock,” Piñol noted.

The Philippines poultry, egg and duck industries are the sources of livelihood of millions of Filipino farmers. Any outbreak of diseases in the sector will have a devastating effect on the lives of many poor Filipinos, not to mention the threat to the health of our people, the DA secretary stressed.

Advisories will be issued as soon as other countries included in the temporary ban are assessed, validated and cleared, he added. ### (DA-OSEC)

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