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ThePoultrySite Newsletter - 5th April 2004

ThePoultrySite.com's Weekly Poultry Industry Newsletter ThePoultrySite.com's Weekly Poultry Industry Newsletter
Monday 5th April 2004
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Welcome to this week's newsletter

* News Overview (link to ALL this weeks news)

We start this week in Japan where a former employee at a poultry farm where a massive number of chickens died of bird flu has confessed he falsified records of the deaths to cover up the outbreak under the instructions of the owner, investigators said today.
     The president of the poultry farm, under arrest for not failing to reporting the infection, said that he didn't contact authorities because he was to "scared," police said.

Japan may declare an end to its latest outbreaks of bird flu in mid-April and lift a ban imposed on farmers in the affected areas if there are no fresh reports of the virus, an Agriculture Ministry official said last Thursday.

In China, vaccines used to combat bird flu in chickens have so far proved effective with no new cases of the deadly virus reported in any of the nation's flocks, experts say. Strong surveillance measures continue in China to prevent the disease from spreading again.
    A recent New Scientist report warns that vaccinations can lead to the evolution of new bird flu strains, increasing the risk of human pandemics.

As Asia slowly recovers from the bird flu crisis, mounting corn prices are now hitting poultry and other livestock producers as they race to restock feed supplies. With corn stocks in China hitting new lows, other feed alternatives will have to be explored if producers are going to stay on top, reports MeatProcess.

Vietnam has declared itself free of the bird flu epidemic, and says its next task is to deal with a host of environmental problems caused by the outbreak. Although the decision has been criticised, with the World Health Organization warning that the virus may still flare up, authorities are confident they have the situation under control, says ChannelNewsAsia.

Thailand is expected to declare this week that it is also free of the bird flu virus reports Reuters. The outbreak killed eight people in the country and devastated its huge poultry industry.

In Pakistan, the State Bank(SBP) in its second quarterly report has highlighted the negative effect of avian influenza virus on the local poultry industry, saying it caused an enormous loss of about Rs 5.4 billion to the sector. The central bank also said that the prices of poultry products may rise in near future due to the losses suffered by the farmers during the bird flu crises.

In Canada, Fraser Valley poultry farmers are awaiting a decision on the fate of their flocks, as officials consider their request for a massive cull to stop the spread of avian flu in British Columbia. Eighteen farms have now shown signs of infection with the H7 strain of avian flu.
     As officials slog through the slaughter of 400,000 chickens to stop the spread of avian flu, they are starting to contemplate cleanup and the need to truck in heavy duty incinerators. So far, the chicken excrement has been left on the affected farms, but it could be heated in kilns to a temperature that would kill the virus, said B.C. Agriculture Minister John van Dongen.

In the US, the bird flu outbreak in southern Texas that shook commodity markets and U.S. poultry producers has been declared over, officials said. They said the focus now will be on convincing countries that banned Texas chickens to reopen their borders, reports PlanetArk.

Maryland and Delaware agriculture officials said yesterday that they would lift all restrictions Monday on chicken farmers - a major turning point in the avian influenza crisis that has cast a pall over Delmarva Peninsula agriculture since February, reports the Baltimore Sun.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is seeking state, academic, and research institutions to work cooperatively in identifying, developing, and validating new technologies that are economically viable for small/very small meat, poultry, or egg product plants to help them meet food safety requirements.

The Hawaii House of Representatives is considering a resolution asking the state's health department to investigate the use of growth hormones and antibiotics in chickens. The resolution was introduced last week and heads to the House Health Committee this week. The resolution states that many growth hormones used in the United States are banned in the EU.

In the EU, the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health approved EC proposals to limit the suspension of imports of live poultry, poultry meat and products and eggs from the USA and Canada to the areas where the outbreaks of avian influenza occurred and a large surrounding buffer zone.

In the UK, a British government laboratory has genetically engineered a safe version of the avian influenza virus to use as the basis of a vaccine, beating out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, who were pursuing the same goal.

Convenience foods group Uniq has sold its Yorkshire-based poultry business to a rival for £11.8m. The operation, which employs about 600 people at sites in Driffield and Rotherham, has been bought by Sovereign Food, a subsidiary of Grampian Country Food Group. The deal comes just over a month after Uniq revealed profits at the division had faltered in the face of bird flu and the loss of a fast food contract.

Finally, in Ireland, the quality route with clear country of origin labeling is the only road to travel to give Irish consumers the traceability they deserve on fresh whole chicken and chicken meat products, says to the Irish Farmers' Association deputy president Ruaidhri Deasy.


That's all for this week.

Ed.


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