Hong Kong has banned poultry exports from the US after a bird flu outbreak was confirmed

Hong Kong has banned poultry exports from the US after a bird flu outbreak was confirmed

Hong Kong has become the second foreign market to suspend imports of US poultry and poultry products, following confirmation of a bird flu outbreak.

Last week the US Department of Agriculture confirmed two separate virus strains were identified in Whatcom County, Washington State, including H5N2 in northern pintail ducks. In addition the 85N8 strain was confirmed in guinea fowl and chickens in a backyard poultry flock in Oregon.

"Neither virus has been found in commercial poultry anywhere in the United States and no human cases with these viruses have been detected in the United States, Canada or internationally. There is no immediate public health concern with either of these avian influenza viruses," the body said in a statement.

However yesterday (23 December) the Centre for Food Safety of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department of Hong Kong banned the import of poultry meat and products (including poultry eggs) from the county with immediate effect.

A CFS spokesman said about 220,000 tonnes of frozen poultry meat and about 426 million poultry eggs were imported into Hong Kong from the US from January to October this year.

"We will be in close liaison with the American authorities over the issue and will closely monitor information issued by the World Organisation for Animal Health on avian influenza outbreaks in the country. Appropriate action will be taken in response to the development of the situation," the spokesman said in a statement.