The Philippines has slapped a temporary ban on poultry products from two states in the United States of America due to bird flu outbreaks.
Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. issued Memorandum Order (MO) 69 that authorized the temporary ban on the importation of domestic and wild birds and their products from the States of Minnesota and South Dakota, USA.
The import ban covers all products and by-products which include poultry meat, day-old chicks, eggs and semen, according to the agriculture department.
Laurel issued the import ban following the confirmed outbreaks of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the two US states recently. The outbreaks were reported by the US Department of Agriculture to the World Organisation for Animal Health following the confirmation by National Veterinary Services Laboratories, United States’s national laboratory.
“The rapid spread of H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in the United States of America in a short period of time since its first laboratory detection necessitates a wider coverage of trade restrictions to prevent the entry of HPAI virus and protect the health of the local poultry population,” Laurel said.
With the import ban in place, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) has already suspended the processing, evaluation and issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances for the importation of the various poultry products and by-products from the two US states.
In recent years, the Philippines saw the resurgence of bird flu domestically at a wider magnitude and scale.
Latest BAI report indicated that there are only two remaining active bird flu cases in the Philippines—one in a barangay in Tarlac City and another in a barangay in Candaba, Pampanga.
Earlier this month, the national government allowed the commercial use of bird flu vaccines in domestic poultry to help in curbing the spread of bird flu nationwide and minimize economic losses incurred by raisers. (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2023/11/08/phl-allows-commercial-use-of-ai-vaccine-for-domestic-poultry-industry/)
The landmark policy decision by the DA was hailed by industry players and experts, noting that the use of bird flu vaccines in domestic poultry would help ensure the country’s food security, particularly for proteins, and deter the use of illegal vaccines. (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2023/11/09/government-avian-flu-vaccine-approval-to-help-boost-phl-food-security-poultry-industry-players/)
The country’s chicken meat imports last year rose by 1.57 percent to 411.069 million kilograms from 404.711 million kilograms in 2021, BAI data showed.
Figures from the attached agency of the DA indicated that the Philippines imported 102.686 million kg of chicken leg quarters last year and 51.717 million kg of chicken cuts.
BAI data showed that Brazil was the country’s top meat supplier as it accounted for 28 percent of the total meat import volume last year.
Brazil exported 384.095 million kg of meat products to the Philippines, bulk of which were chicken meat. Brazil was the country’s top supplier of chicken meat products at 235.256 million kilograms followed by the US at 122.931 million kg.