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ThePoultrySite Newsletter - 2nd February 2004's Weekly Poultry Industry Newsletter's Weekly Poultry Industry Newsletter
Monday 2nd February 2004
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Welcome to this week's PoultrySite newsletter

It was great to see so many people at the International Poultry Expo in Atlanta last week. We hope everyone had a great show and that you enjoy reading our weekly newsletter.

* News Overview (link to ALL this weeks news)

We start our newsletter this week in China where Channel News Asia reports officials have either confirmed or suspect bird flu cases in one third of the country, as a chicken cull in the remote northwest triggers fears that the virus may be spreading even further.

China has ordered poultry markets and processing factories closed in bird flu affected areas The Taipei Times reports state media as saying Sunday. This comes shortly after the World Health Organization warned Beijing's chance to contain the disease may be disappearing.

China, accused of deceiving the world over SARS, denied Thursday a similar cover-up that allowed the bird flu scourge to sweep across Asia, says Reuters. China's foreign ministry spokeswoman said the accusation made in the British weekly New Scientist "is completely inaccurate, is without proof and moreover does not respect science."

Bird flu prevention was a tough job for China, said Premier Wen Jiabao when visiting a village in the Anhui Province. The conditions for bird raising in most rural areas of China were still backward, which made the prevention work especially difficult, reports Xinhuanet.

Japan has not reported another case of avian flu since its first incident on January 12. Up to 30% of Japan's chickens are imported from Asia, and now that many of these countries' poultry have been banned due to bird flu, it's been a scramble looking for alternatives.

Asia's main weapon against the bird flu epidemic, a cull of more than 25 million chickens in 10 affected nations, is facing questions over whether it was being carried out safely and fairly. The WHO said if it was not carried out properly the cull could increase the risk of a disastrous mutation that would enable the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu to be transmitted from person to person.

In Thailand, whilst battling a bird flu epidemic, the government has also had its hands full with another serious problem - doubts over its credibility after it allegedly tried to cover up the outbreak. More is at stake than just a tarnished international image: the alleged cover-up may make it harder for Thailand to revive its billion-dollar chicken export industry, the world's fourth largest.

Pakistan joined the list of countries with bird flu Monday, with a government official saying 1.5 million chickens died from a different strain of the virus (H5N2) than the one blamed for the human fatalities (H5N1).

In India, poultry initially suspected of dying from AI have been found to have died from severe cold said the Haryana Deputy Director of the Animal Husbandry department.
     According to Dr Arora no traits or symptoms of flu have been found in the birds. A joint team of the experts of Haryana Agricultural University and the department visited several poultry farms to check the sick birds.

In the US, suggests the situation in Thailand has some interesting implications for the poultry industry. The US is a significant exporter of value-added broiler products to Japan and the EU. However, the sudden and justifiable ban on imports of Thai-origin products which has resulted in a catastrophe in their operations, creates opportunities for the United States and Brazil. If U.S. integrators can rapidly improvise and adapt, they will secure new markets with potentially high returns, the commentary states.

The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced that it has declared the Mexican states of Campeche, Quintana Roo and Yucatan free of exotic Newcastle disease. This change in disease status relieves import restrictions on poultry and poultry products from these regions.

Young chickens may contain more than three times as much arsenic as other types of poultry and meat, researchers report. These levels are higher than previously believed and may need to be taken into account when determining what levels of overall arsenic exposure are safe, according to a report by the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, reports World Environment News.

In Canada, British Columbia's chief veterinarian is urging poultry farmers in the province to be vigilant for any signs of the avian influenza that's causing widespread problems in South East Asia – where it has caused a number of deaths, according to myTelus.

In the UK, an Ulster Unionist Assembly member said the European ban on Thai chicken exposed the scandal of foreign food of dubious quality in the supermarkets. More consideration must be given in the UK when sourcing food products, and ensure that the status is equal to that of Northern Ireland food products", reports FarmingLife.

Chicken prices in the UK are set to rise as suppliers struggle to cope with the lack of imports coming from Asia. Many British-based chicken suppliers import a large amount of their poultry from Thailand where it is far cheaper to produce the meat. But with Thai imports banned, suppliers will have to turn to European or American chicken.

Following the ban on Thai chicken imports, there is increasing pressure on UK farmers to supply more quality assured poultry meat at a time when prices are below the cost of production, says the NFU. Poultry farmers’ margins are being squeezed with high feed costs due to the doubling of grain prices over the past year (£55 to £110).

The EU has reduced the 100% testing requirement for imports of poultry meat from Brazil to 20%. Since October 2002, all consignments of poultry meat and poultry meat products from Brazil to the EU had to be tested for the presence of residues of nitrofurane.

That's all for this week. Best wishes for 2004

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