Weekly Overview: OIE Sets New Animal Health Standards, Bidding War for US Meat Processor

GLOBAL - The World Organisation for Animal Health has set new standards for animal health at its recent World Assembly celebrating its 90th anniversary. US meat processor, Hillshire Foods, has become an acquisition target for both Pilgrim's Pride (JBS) and Tyson Foods.
calendar icon 5 June 2014
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New international standards and guidelines on animal health were agreed at the World Assembly of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in Paris, France.

More than 850 participants, representing Member Countries of the OIE as well as numerous international, intergovernmental, regional and national organisations took part in the 82nd Session of the OIE, which marked the 90th anniversary of the Organisation.

During the week, the Assembly examined the worldwide animal health situation, and gave special attention to the latest sanitary episodes of importance, including H7N9 and H5N8 influenza in Asia.

Delegates continued their work in the field of antimicrobial resistance by adopting the revision of three Chapters of the OIE Terrestrial Code on antimicrobial resistance, especially the Chapter on the risk assessment for antimicrobial resistance arising from the use of antimicrobial agents in animals.

OIE also continues to focus on animal welfare improvement. The standard adopted in 2013 on animal welfare in broiler chicken production systems was revised, notably with regard to the deviation of the feed conversion rate, which is an indicator of animal welfare issues.

Turning to avian flu in poultry, 6,000 birds have been culled in southern Jakarta, Indonesia because of suspicions of avian influenza.

In May, Indonesia officially launched the IVM Online platform, a web-based platform for influenza virus monitoring based on a sustainable animal health laboratory network which was set up to monitor, detect and characterise avian influenza H5N1 viruses circulating in the country.

New outbreaks of Newcastle disease have been reported in the last week in Colombia, Nepal and Algeria.

On foodborne disease, the US Department of Agriculture has announced it will draft new safety standards for Campylobacter in poultry, in addition to the previously-announced timetable for Salmonella. These standards are expected to be ready by the end of September.

And finally, Pilgrim's Pride and Tyson Foods appear to be in a tussle to acquire Hillshire Foods, a leading US manufacturer of prepared meat products. Pilgrim's has recently come back with a renewed offer after Tyson outbid its initial one.

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