In a pre-emptive measure designed to contain bird flu should it be found in  the country, Brazilian poultry producers have joined forces to ban the transportation of live chickens between states, the Floha de Sao Paulo newspaper reported yesterday (12 January).

According to the report, Brazil's two biggest poultry processors, Sadia and Perdigao, already only process chicken in the same state they are raised. These companies, who export to over 60 countries throughout Asia, Latin America and Europe, consider regionalising the processing of chicken one of the best defences against the spread of bird flu. The rest of the industry has agreed to follow suit.

However, the vast majority of Brazil's US$3.5bln poultry export trade is in live, unprocessed chickens.

"The big companies here are all entering the processed meat market, but this is a mid-term solution for the sector. Our biggest market is fresh poultry," Ariel Mendes, vice president of the Brazilian Poultry Union, told the newspaper.

The Agriculture Ministry is expected to release a document on the prevention of avian influenza later today.