Hong Kong bans some Japanese poultry imports after H5N7 is detected
The latest ban, which concerns poultry, poultry products and eggs from Okayama prefecture in Japan, Haifa district in Israel and Nigeria, covers all poultry, poultry products and eggs from the regions affected.
Once the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) had made a worldwide notification of the outbreaks, Hong Kong’s Centre for Food Safety (CFS), a section of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, decided to pull imports.
200k chickens culled
Local news from Okayama reported before the weekend that five chickens died of what analysis showed to be of the the H5N7 virus strain at one farm. Around 200,000 chickens are being destroyed as a result, with the Japanese military providing assistance. The dead hens will be incinerated.
Annual avian flu infections have become common in Japan in recent years, according to Japanese media, resulting in the extermination of millions of birds, with extreme measures taken to prevent the spread of the disease. Authorities have banned farmers moving chickens and eggs at six farms within 3km of the farm in Kasaoka, while 15 other farms within a 10km radius have been ordered not to ship their products.
Region home to 10m birds
It is thought to be the first time Okayama prefecture, Japan’s fourth-biggest egg-producing prefecture, which is home to around 10m breeding birds, has been affected. One million chickens are housed in the farms involved.
A CFS spokesman said that more than 5,000 tonnes of frozen and chilled poultry meat and 20 million poultry eggs were imported from Japan into Hong Kong from January to November last year. However, Hong Kong did not import any poultry meat and poultry eggs from Nigeria and Israel.
The CFS has contacted the Japanese authorities over the issue and will closely monitor information issued by the OIE on the bird flu outbreak in the country, the spokesman said.
More than 5,000 tons of frozen and chilled poultry meat and 20 million poultry eggs were imported from Japan into Hong Kong from January to November last year, said the spokesman.
The move comes less than three weeks after Hong Kong’s food watchdog was forced to stop poultry meat and egg imports from Japan’s Yamaguchi prefecture for similar reasons.