China bans poultry imports to stop bird flu spreading

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Avian influenza, Influenza, People's republic of china

China has banned imports of poultry products from 14 countries as
one of a raft of new measures to help prevent the spread of bird
flu.

The country has also set up a high-level command to co-ordinate action against the disease, said the state media agency Xinhua​ today.

And at a special Cabinet meeting held by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday it decided to set aside 2 billion yuan ($248 million) from this year's fiscal budget to prevent the disease from spreading.

Although the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus has not caused any human deaths in China, it has recently seen three outbreaks of avian flu in birds - in the northern region of Inner Mongolia and in Anhui and Hunan provinces.

The import ban will affect poultry from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Japan, North Korea, Romania, Croatia, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Mongolia, Turkey, Russia and Sweden.

China's own poultry industry has itself been hit by import bans in other markets last year.

Overall, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that Asian poultry exports will not top 1 million tons, or about 12 per cent of global shipments, this year, a considerable decline from the 1.8 million tonnes, valued at US$2.5 billion, supplied by Asian exporters in 2003.

But despite continuing and sporadic outbreaks in some countries, such as Vietnam and Indonesia, per capita poultry meat consumption in Asia, which registered an unprecedented drop in 2004 to 7.4 kg per caput, is expected to recover in 2005, it said last month.

Related topics: Food safety

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