China has banned US poultry and egg product imports amid incidences of bird flu in the country.
The ban, which also applies to breeding stock – including live chicks and hatching eggs – was effective from 8 January. The ban is in response to a 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 HPAI detections in wild birds in California and Washington State.
The ban comes despite assurances by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) that the influenza virus has not been found in any commercial poultry flock in the US.
US poultry exporters criticised Beijing’s move. “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.
“Most of our other trading partners have taken some sort of regionalised 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.”
According to the US Poultry & Egg Export Council, US exports of chicken, turkey and duck products to China from January to November last year, reached more than US$272m.