Weekly Overview: Bird Flu and Other Challenging Issues for the Poultry Industry

GLOBAL - Influenza of avian origin has been in the news this week with a new report on the transmission of the virus from animals to humans as well as new cases in Chinese patients and signs of infection in poultry workers. There has been a call from the poultry industry to cease referring to 'bird flu'.
calendar icon 29 May 2014
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Starting with bird flu news, seven new cases of H7N9 influenza have been confirmed in China, while evidence has been found of asymptomatic or mild infections of the virus in poultry workers in Shenzhen.

Nepal has been declared free of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza in its poultry, and there have been no new cases of the H5N8 low-pathogenic virus in the United States.

The International Poultry Council (IPC) has called on the leading world health organisations to adopt neutral disease nomenclature to bring to an end market disruption as the result, for example, of influenza outbreaks linked to poultry.

Widespread use of such terms as 'bird flu' in media reports of incidents of influenza in poultry often create confusion and fear among consumers leading to reduced consumption of poultry, which can be costly to producers, according to IPC.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published a new report examining the transmission of influenza viruses from animals to humans.

Turning to other news, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has become involved in both the meat and egg sectors in the last few days. It is proposing to grant authorisation to enable members of the New South Wales Farmers’ Association who grow chicken, turkey and duck meat, to bargain collectively with poultry meat processors. ACCC has also begun an investigation into allegations of cartel activity in the country's egg industry.

In India, volatile prices, wide supply-demand disparity and high feed costs remain concerns for the poultry industry. Nevertheless, an investment agency is forecasting improving returns this fiscal year (March 2014 to April 2015).

And in the United States panel of experts on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) gathered in Williamsburg recently to debate the risks and benefits of GM foods. The debate, sponsored by the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD), was one of the fair’s major draws.

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