The EU’s Standing Committee for the Food Chain and Animal Health has agreed to continue the suspension of imports into the EU of chicken products and pet birds from Asian countries affected by avian influenza.

This concerns imports of fresh chicken meat and chicken products from Thailand and pet birds from Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Pakistan, China, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Committee agreed that the suspension be maintained for six months until 15 August in keeping with OIE (International Organisation of Animal Health) guidelines.

The European Commission said the situation will be kept under constant review and the ban may be ended earlier if the situation allows.

The ban does not apply to Thai products obtained from birds slaughtered before 1 January 2004, and imports of Thai poultry meat products treated to a temperature of at least 70° Celsius will still be authorised, as they pose no risk as regards the spread of the disease, the Commission said.