The French government has said that, to date, a total of 43 countries have introduced total or partial bans on French poultry produce due to the fear of bird flu contamination.

The US became one of the latest to join Japan, India, South Africa, Russia, Croatia, Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Australia by restricting the import of French poultry produce. The 43 countries account for 12% of French poultry exports.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has banned shipments of live birds, poultry and related products from the province of Ain, where H5N1 avian influenza was found in a turkey last week.

Europe’s biggest poultry producer expressed relief that the US ban was limited to the Ain region and suggested that other countries should follow suit and introduce regional, rather than national bans.

According to reports by the Associated Press, Agriculture Minister Dominique Bussereau told parliament yesterday (28 February) that French diplomats are trying to get countries to reconsider their bans or allow in some poultry products.