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ThePoultrySite Newsletter - 1st March 2004

ThePoultrySite.com's Weekly Poultry Industry Newsletter ThePoultrySite.com's Weekly Poultry Industry Newsletter
Monday 1st March 2004
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Welcome to this week's newsletter

* News Overview (link to ALL this weeks news)

This week we start in the US, where the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza virus was confirmed at a poultry farm in Gonzales, Texas. About 6,600 chickens from the farm, located about 50 miles east of San Antonio, were destroyed, and the USDA inspected two Houston live-poultry markets where that farm's chickens are normally sold.
See also: Scientific tests led to bird flu upgrade

Health checks in France by US officials monitoring imports are continuous and have not been done on the spur of the moment, a senior US official said on Thursday. The comments were in response to suspicions in France that the US banned imports of French cured meats and foie gras pate on an impulse, using health standards as a pretext.
See also: France angry at US foie gras ban

Scientists should have a better idea soon of the chances of bird flu combining with a human strain to create a feared new mass killer, reports NewScientist.
     Under high security, researchers in laboratories in the US and Japan will begin mixing the avian virus ravaging poultry in Asia with the common and highly contagious human variety to see what they produce.

In Mexico, chicken products are gaining access to US markets. In the next few months Mexico will begin exporting chicken meat to the US, making it only the second foreign country, besides Canada, to supply the world's largest poultry consumer.

In Canada, Avian flu appeared in British Columbia chickens last week, but in a less dangerous form than was found in Asia last month. The H7N virus found in a Masqui, B.C., broiler breeder chicken flock last week on Loewen Acres Farm is a mild version of the one that recently killed 22 people as well as birds in Asia. "We are dealing with a low-pathogenic strain of the virus," said Canadian Food Inspection Agency spokesperson.

The EU has banned the import of poultry from the United States, following the discovery of bird flu in Texas. An EC spokesman said "The commission will therefore take immediate action and suspend the import of live birds and eggs from all of the US. The EU is to review the ban before it expires on March 23.

In Japan, the agriculture minister slammed a senior poultry industry executive for failing to report the deaths of tens of thousands of chickens on his farm, where officials have confirmed the country's third outbreak of bird flu.
     About 67,000 of the 200,000 chickens at the farm in southwestern Japan died in the past week, but Hajimu Asada failed to alert authorities and continued to ship live chickens, meat and eggs to customers.

China's Ministry of Agriculture declared a further six areas free of bird flu on Saturday. No new bird flu cases had been suspected or confirmed in these areas for 21 successive days since the last birds in the affected areas were culled, according to eFeedLink. There has been no reports of suspected bird flu cases anywhere on the Chinese mainland for 12 days in a row.

In Hong Kong, a scientist suggested Monday that chickens be butchered at slaughterhouses instead of at street-side markets to minimize the risk of bird flu in a territory where many locals insist on freshness that only on-the-spot slaughtering can provide.
     Hong Kong has avoided the bird flu that recently swept through Asia, killing 22 people in Thailand and Vietnam, but the territory remains on high alert. An outbreak in Hong Kong in 1997 crossed from poultry to people and killed six, prompting stricter regulations that officials say have made the industry here safer.

In the UK, a joint announcement by Defra, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Northern Ireland and the Board of the National Fallen Stock Company Ltd stated that the National Fallen Stock Scheme will now go ahead in the Autumn of 2004.

Hungarians - producers, veterinarians and advisers - representing over 70 per cent of the country's commercial egg production visited Britain on a fact-finding mission last week, organised by Lohmann Animal Health. The group was keen to see how the UK industry tackles quality assurance and traceability, particularly in relation to salmonella control.

Significant increases in egg production have been achieved by a regional poultry company using a new feed supplement in the diet of layers. Since adding a natural product - made from fermented soya meal and extracts from plants and herbs - to the diet of birds in a trial, output increased by five eggs per bird.


That's all for this week.

Ed.


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