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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:56 pm 
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Media reports cite a China ban of US poultry and eggs due to H5N8 reports.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:57 pm 
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China Bans Imports of U.S. Poultry Amid Bird-Flu Concerns
Ban Follows Discoveries Last Month of Strain of H5N8 Influenza in Wild Birds, Backyard Flocks
By KELSEY GEE
Jan. 12, 2015 3:40 p.m. ET
1 COMMENTS
China has banned imports of U.S. poultry and eggs following the detection of avian flu in noncommercial flocks in the U.S. late last year, according to a U.S. poultry-industry group.

The ban follows the discoveries last month of a strain of H5N8 influenza in wild birds and in a so-called backyard flocks of guinea hens and chickens in Oregon, as well as the detection of another strain in California and Washington. The cases were confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


China’s ban affects shipments of breeding stock, including live chicks and hatching eggs, as well as poultry and eggs, according to the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council. The group criticized China’s decision, saying the bird-flu outbreaks in the U.S. have occurred far away from the major U.S. commercial poultry-production regions.

China’s action comes after more than 20 countries, including South Korea and South Africa, have imposed restrictions on imports of poultry products from certain U.S. states or the whole country.

In the first 11 months of last year, U.S. exports of chicken, turkey and duck products to China reached nearly $290 million, according to the trade group.

The USDA has said the bird-flu viruses haven’t been found in any commercial flocks in the U.S., and the detections in noncommercial birds pose “no immediate public health concern.” A USDA representative wasn’t immediately available for comment Monday.

“There’s absolutely no justification for China to take such a drastic action,” said Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council. “In fact, these isolated and remote incidents are hundreds if not thousands of miles away from major poultry and egg production areas.”

The bulk of U.S. chicken production occurs in the southern U.S.

The H5N8 strain has also been identified in China, Japan, Korea and has recently appeared in the U.K. and Canada.

Write to Kelsey Gee at kelsey.gee@wsj.com

http://www.wsj.com/articles/china-bans- ... 1421095231

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:02 pm 
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China bans U.S. poultry, eggs imports amid avian flu fears: USDA

Monday, January 12, 2015 3:30 p.m. CST
CHICAGO (Reuters) - China has banned all imports of U.S. poultry, poultry products and eggs amid recent reports of highly pathogenic strains of avian influenza found in the Pacific Northwest, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday.

All such products currently en route to the country will either be destroyed or returned, according to the agency and the U.S. trade group USA Poultry & Egg Export Council.

The ban, effective as of Jan. 8, also applies to poultry breeding stock, which includes live chicks and hatching eggs.

From January through November last year, Moore said, U.S. exporters of poultry products sent to China reached nearly $290 million, said Toby Moore, spokesman for the trade group.

(Reporting By Theopolis Waters; Editing by Diane Craft)

http://whbl.com/news/articles/2015/jan/ ... ears-usda/

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:11 pm 
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Note: FSIS has been informed by APHIS that until further notice, due to the finding of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a backyard flock in Oregon and Washington, the certification statement referring to the United States as free from HPAI cannot be endorsed. Health certificates with certification statements referring to HPAI freedom in a state, region, zone or area can be endorsed for all states except Oregon and Washington. FSIS is updating the individual country export requirements as soon as information is received from APHIS. Meanwhile, while signing export certificates for countries, if there are questions regarding the avian influenza statement on the certificate please call IECPDS at (202) 720 0082 or (855) 444-9904 for clarification.*

Recently Revised Export Requirements

Macedonia, Republic of (Jan 09, 2015)
Ukraine (Jan 09, 2015)
Dominican Republic (Jan 08, 2015)
Singapore (Jan 08, 2015)
Korea, Republic of (Jan 08, 2015)
European Union (Jan 08, 2015)
Hong Kong (Jan 08, 2015)
Taiwan (Jan 07, 2015)
Philippines (Jan 07, 2015)
Mexico (Jan 06, 2015)
Indonesia (Jan 06, 2015)
Canada (Jan 06, 2015)
Nicaragua (Jan 05, 2015)
Barbados (Jan 05, 2015)
Dominica (Jan 05, 2015)
Uruguay (Jan 05, 2015)
Guatemala (Jan 05, 2015)
St. Lucia (Jan 05, 2015)
Curacao (Jan 05, 2015)
Cuba (Jan 05, 2015)
El Salvador (Jan 05, 2015)
Costa Rica (Jan 05, 2015)
Sri Lanka (Jan 05, 2015)
Japan (Jan 05, 2015)
Peru (Jan 05, 2015)
Colombia (Jan 05, 2015)
Belarus (Jan 05, 2015)
Ecuador (Jan 05, 2015)
Turks & Caicos Islands (Jan 05, 2015)
New Zealand (Dec 30, 2014)
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsi ... by-country

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:14 pm 
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Avian flu spurs ban on poultry imports from Pacific Northwest
More than 30 countries, including those in the European Union, have banned poultry imports from the region.
By Jeremy Gerrard
January 12, 2015

Avian flu spurs ban on poultry imports from Pacific Northwest The threat of a spread of avian influenza in the Pacific Northwest has prompted more than 30 countries, including those in the European Union, to ban poultry imports from the region, according to USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) established an emergency quarantine zone for avian influenza over an area roughly 20 miles in size where avian influenza has been identified in flocks of mixed poultry and other birds.

The quarantine area restricts the movement of eggs, poultry or poultry products out of the identified zone.

On January 2, WSDA activated a multi-agency response plan following the confirmation of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza in domestic birds in a Benton County flock. Later, a second infected flock was identified in the area. Work to control the spread of the virus was completed January 6 at both locations. The joint team of WSDA and USDA officials will now work to clean and disinfect the two sites.

USDA plans to increase the amount of testing of poultry and other domestic birds within an area 10 kilometers around the two flocks.

In late-December 2014, USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5 avian influenza in wild birds in Washington state.

According to APHIS, two strains were identified in northern pintail ducks and captive Gyrfalcons that were fed hunter-killed wild birds.

Neither strand of virus has been found in any commercial poultry in the US, and APHIS says there is no immediate public health concern.

Authorities with the U.S. Department of Agriculture also emphasize that poultry, poultry products and wild birds are safe to eat, even if they carry the disease, provided they are properly handled and cooked to a temperature of 165°F.

The US response to the flu’s presence in Washington state was swiftly reported and acted on in light of the avian flu outbreaks in December of last year that affected commercial poultry farms in British Columbia, Canada.

USDA says the virus would have significant economic impacts if detected in US domestic poultry. Commercial poultry producers follow strict biosecurity practices and raise their birds in very controlled environments. Federal officials emphasize that all bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard enthusiasts, should continue practicing good biosecurity.

http://www.foodengineeringmag.com/artic ... -northwest?

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:19 pm 
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China bans US poultry, eggs, citing avian flu

Joseph Bonney, Senior Editor | Jan 12, 2015 4:56PM EST

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The Chinese government said it will ban imports of U.S. poultry and egg products because of recent detections of highly pathogenic avian influenza in backyard poultry and wild birds in the Pacific Northwest.

China is a key export market for U.S. chicken, turkey and duck products. From January through November last year, U.S. exports of these products to China totaled $272 million.

The USA Poultry & Egg Export Council criticized the Chinese action, which it said went counter to international guidelines established by the World Organization for Animal Health.

“There’s absolutely no justification for China to take such a drastic action,” said Jim Sumner, president of the council. “In fact, these isolated and remote incidents are hundreds if not thousands of miles away from major poultry and egg production areas.”

The ban is in response to December detection of a highly pathogenic strain of H5N8 influenza in wild birds and in a backyard flock of guinea hens and chickens in Oregon, along with separate H5N2 HPA1 detections in wild birds in California and Washington state.

Chinese officials imposed the restrictions despite assurances by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service that the influenza virus has not been found in any commercial poultry flock in the U.S.

“Most of our other trading partners have taken some sort of regionalized approach, and have limited their restrictions to the state or, in some cases, to the county,” he said. “We would have expected China to do the same.”

Sumner said banning all U.S. poultry and eggs would hurt China’s domestic poultry industry. “Since the ban also includes U.S. breeding stock, China is cutting off its industry’s main source of hatching eggs and chicks, which will curtail the industry’s ability to replenish and maintain its production.”

Contact Joseph Bonney at jbonney@joc.com and follow him on Twitter: @JosephBonney.

http://www.joc.com/regulation-policy/im ... 50112.html

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 5:53 pm 
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Avian flu outbreak results in international trade bans
BY KRISTI PIHL
Tri-City HeraldJanuary 10, 2015 Updated 23 hours ago
Image
Wilcox Farms employees Megan Burkhardt, left, and Dale Garner disinfect their boots as part of a cleaning procedure they follow before entering one of the farm’s chicken houses near Roy. The cleaning station is in a separate building adjacent to the chicken barn. COURTESY BARRIE WILCOX

COMMERCIAL FARMERS’ ADVICE FOR BACKYARD BIRD OWNERS

• Keep birds in an enclosure that prevents them coming into contact with wild waterfowl and wild waterfowl droppings.

• An enclosure with net covering the top will limit access by air if a building isn’t possible.

• Use common-sense sanitization. If you come into contact with other birds or bird droppings, wash hands, disinfect shoes and change clothes before coming into contact with your own birds.

• Limit access other people have to your birds. If you do grant access, have them wash hands, disinfect shoes and change clothes.

• Biosecurity is important no matter the size. A flock of three birds still can contract avian influenza.

Contact the state Department of Agriculture immediately if you notice any unusual illnesses or death. Typical symptoms include respiratory issues, coughing or sneezing, lower egg production, decreased appetite and swelling on combs or waddles.

Deaths or illnesses in domestic birds should be reported to the WSDA Avian Health Program at 800-606-3056. For wild birds, call the state Department of Fish and Wildlife at 800-606-8768.

For more information about the quarantine, go to www.agr.wa.gov/lawsrules/rulemaking.

Some of Barrie Wilcox’s chickens normally spend the day roaming in a fenced yard outside their chicken house in Roy.

But for now, Wilcox Farms’ egg-laying hens are staying inside, protected from contact with wild waterfowl that can carry avian influenza.

Avian flu has not been detected in any U.S. commercial flock, but the recent discovery of a highly contagious strain avian flu in two backyard flocks in Benton County is affecting commercial farmers all the same.

The European Union and nations including South Korea and South Africa have banned all U.S. poultry, eggs and other poultry products in response to the avian flu outbreaks in Washington and Oregon. Others, including Canada, have placed specific trade restrictions on Washington and Oregon. This form of avian flu is not contagious to humans.

So far, about 30 nations have updated their restrictions on U.S. poultry and poultry products after avian flu was confirmed in the Benton County flocks. Hong Kong specifically banned poultry and poultry products from Benton County.

Part of the reason the state Department of Agriculture imposed a quarantine in the Tri-Cities was to reassure export markets that federal and state regulators are taking the necessary precautions so that avian flu does not spread.

The chickens, turkeys, ducks, guinea fowl and other birds belonging to a Benton City backyard flock and a Richland flock were euthanized in an effort to control the spread of disease. More than 700 birds from the two flocks — which had direct contact with each other — have died.

U.S. Department of Agriculture officials will visit properties within about two miles of the homes of the two former flocks to take samples from poultry and waterfowl and test them for avian influenza.

Commercial poultry farms are taking the discovery of avian flu in backyard flocks seriously.

Ultimately, what separates commercial production from backyard is a simple concept with a fancy name — biosecurity.

“Animals that aren't exposed to a disease are really unlikely to get it,” said Charles Corsiglia, clinical field veterinarian and Foster Farms manager of veterinary services.

Controlling access

Biosecurity is an ingrained part of how Foster Farms grows chickens, Corsiglia said. Foster Farms supervisors have spoken with the company’s contract growers in the Northwest to remind them of the importance of biosecurity measures.

Wilcox Farms already had been phasing in biosecurity measures based on advice from an expert veterinarian, and is augmenting what it already had in place to better protect its flocks, Wilcox said.

Commercial egg farms with more than 3,000 laying hens are required to have a biosecurity program in place under federal law, said Oscar Garrison, United Egg Producers director of food safety. Most farms already had active programs before it became a requirement.

The methods used to limit the chances that chickens will come into contact with pathogens vary from farm to farm. But the core principles of controlling access to the birds and limiting chances of outside contamination are universal.

Key is protecting poultry from coming into contact with wild waterfowl, known carriers of avian influenza. Migrating waterfowl can transport avian flu strains from Asia to Canada and the Northwest. The risk waterfowl present to poultry is always present to some degree, Corsiglia said.

On most farms, including Oakdell Egg Farms near Pasco, chickens live indoors, away from wild waterfowl and their droppings.

That becomes a challenge for farmers who want to be able to grow organic chickens or eggs. To be able to meet national organic standards, birds must have access to the outside, Corsiglia said.

Wilcox Farms, which has been in the egg business since 1920, has gradually switched to cage-free and organic egg production, Wilcox said. That’s why some chickens spend their day in fenced-in yards.

However, regulators have advised the Wilcoxes to keep their birds indoors for now. Foster Farms organic chickens in California also are being kept indoors temporarily with permission from state regulators — none of their farms in Washington or Oregon are organic.

Human access to the birds also is controlled. The idea is that chickens will not be exposed to a disease like avian flu if people don’t carry anything in on themselves, vehicles or equipment, Corsiglia said.

Many commercial chicken farms have a clean zone that separates the barns where the chickens are raised from the outside world.

Foster Farms employees are expected to arrive at a farm clean, Corsiglia said. But they still must put on fresh clothing and disinfect their boots before they go into the clean zone.

At Wilcox Farms, workers park their vehicles outside the clean zone, Wilcox said. Then, they put on clean coveralls and footwear and wash their hands. That’s important, because people typically spread diseases with their hands and feet.

Vehicles that need to come into the zone drive through a wash first. A temporary wash facility is in use while a more permanent one is being built, Wilcox said.

And Wilcox Farms employees repeat the changing and disinfection process before entering each chicken house. The farm is in the process of permanently placing steel containers in front of the door to each chicken house to act as changing rooms, Wilcox said. A bench in the changing room is the dividing line between the outside and the clean zone.

Testing for avian flu

All these precautions are needed because chickens can’t get immunity from avian influenza through a vaccine. Oakdell Egg Farms uses vaccines to protect its hens from other diseases, but can’t with the avian flu, said Kent Woodward, the farm’s Pasco manager.

One vaccine wouldn’t be able to protect chickens against the numerous strains of avian flu that could be present, said Charlie Powell, spokesman for Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. That’s similar to the difficulties in creating vaccines for the human flu virus.

Also, vaccinated birds could spread the disease, and if they do spread it, it could mutate because the virus has an inherent ability to rapidly change, he said.

State officials take samples from commercial birds to test for avian influenza on a regular basis, said Kirk Robinson, the state Department of Agriculture’s assistant director of food safety and consumer services. The time between the tests depends on the type of operation, because fryers have a shorter lifespan while egg-laying hens might produce for two years.

All Foster Farm flocks are tested before being processed to make sure none have avian flu, Corsiglia said. They test a specific amount of the birds for each flock so that if any had avian flu, they would have a 100 percent chance of finding it.

Egg producers also participate in what is called the National Poultry Improvement Plan, which requires regular screening of their birds for avian influenza, Garrison said.

If a flock is found with avian flu, it will be killed and the owners compensated, even if it’s a survivable and less-contagious form of avian flu, said James Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council.

The goal is to prevent the spread of disease and keep less-contagious strains from mutating, he said. The difference between less-contagious and contagious avian influenza is akin to the difference between a cold and severe pneumonia.

“We have the most sophisticated, extensive surveillance programs in the world for such diseases,” Sumner said. “And part of that surveillance program is an extensive testing program that will discover any level of avian influenza, even at the low pathogenic level.”

Cooked eggs and meat from poultry with avian flu are safe for people to eat.

Limiting exports

Washington and Oregon are relatively small players in the nation’s poultry industry, Sumner said. But the discovery of avian flu in wild and domestic backyard birds is affecting the entire U.S commercial industry.

Foreign countries don’t necessarily distinguish between commercial and backyard production. In the U.S., backyard flocks are for a family’s individual use. But in countries including the Philippines, Indonesia and China, what they call backyard production is what is sold at public markets, Sumner said.

Sumner expects more countries will impose complete bans on U.S. poultry and poultry products. And that’s a concern, because of potential economic losses.

U.S poultry exports last year exceeded $6 billion, Sumner said.

“Without exports our industry would not be profitable,” he said.

Regaining lost export markets could take some time. South Korea has said it won’t accept poultry and poultry products until the U.S. has been free of serious influenza strains for six months, Sumner said.

Export restrictions could create a ripple effect in the world poultry industry because the U.S. is the world’s largest producer of chickens for breeding stock, providing about 90 percent of the world’s supply, Sumner said. A shortage of breeding stock could worsen global hunger problems.

It takes about 2 pounds of feed to produce each pound of chicken meat, Sumner said.

“There is not any animal protein that is more economical to produce than poultry,” he said.

Kristi Pihl: 509-582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @KristiAPihl

Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/2015/01/10/3 ... rylink=cpy

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 8:56 am 
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Bird flu barrier forces Washington hatchery to kill healthy chicks


By DON JENKINS

Capital Press

A Bellingham, Wash., hatchery was forced to euthanize 22,000 healthy chicks Jan. 9 because of trade restrictions imposed by Canada after bird flu was found in non-commercial flocks in south-central Washington.

Canadian authorities relaxed the ban Jan. 13 and allowed 65,000 imperiled chicks to be delivered to a Chilliwack, British Columbia, poultry farm owned by the same parent company, K&R Poultry.

“It was a big sigh of relief,” said Harvey Pelleboer, manager of the hatchery, Rock Creek Farms.

Pelleboer said he was shocked to learn Jan. 7 that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency wouldn’t let the chicks across the border. The hatchery produces about 100,000 chicks a week, he said.

The next day, the agency announced all birds, raw meat and poultry products raised, processed or shipped from Washington and Oregon would be barred until further notice.

The ban was a response to highly pathogenic avian influenza

murray@blueskymktg.com 8456

showing up in two backyard flocks in Benton County, Wash., and one in Douglas County, Ore.

Previously, a wild duck and captive falcon near Lynden, about 27 miles from Bellingham, were found to have had bird flu. The virus struck 11 B.C. poultry farms and one non-commercial flock between Dec. 1 and 19.

But it was the cases of bird flu that struck 290 miles away in the southern end of Washington that caused problems for Rock Creek Farms, which has no way to feed or water the chicks.

For several days, Pelleboer was uncertain whether he would have to euthanize the 65,000 chicks and 20,000 more chicks due to hatch by week’s end.

“It was a nightmare,” he said. “Here I am, sitting with 65,000 chicks.”

On the afternoon of Jan. 13, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said it had resolved the problem. By 5:30 p.m., Pelleboer’s chicks were able to cross the border.

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Washington Department of Agriculture worked with the Canadian agency to resolve the issue, according to USDA spokeswoman Joelle Hayden.

Canadian authorities have now limited their restrictions to parts of Benton and Franklin counties, the vicinity of the two infected non-commercial flocks. The hatchery can now ship chicks to Canada, she said in an email.

Efforts to obtain comment from CFIA were unsuccessful.

Pelleboer said he tests regularly for bird flu and credited the USDA with intervening on the farm’s behalf.

“They’re doing a phenomenal job, trying to help us,” Pelleboer said.

http://capitalpress.or.newsmemory.com/? ... 20&artid=2

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