Hong Kong bans regional Dutch poultry after cull

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

More than one million birds were culled by the Netherlands in the last 12 months due to avian influenza
More than one million birds were culled by the Netherlands in the last 12 months due to avian influenza

Related tags Hong kong Influenza Influenza a virus subtype h5n1 Meat Livestock Poultry

Hong Kong has temporarily stopped importing poultry from a western province in the Netherlands that culled over 40,000 chickens after a bird flu outbreak.

All poultry meat and eggs produced in the Dutch province of Zeeland can no longer be sold to Hong Kong.

This comes after a Sint Philipsland-based farm culled 41,504 chickens earlier in October, following an outbreak of low pathogenic avian influenza (AI).

All the chickens on the farm were culled to prevent the country from slipping into another spate of AI outbreaks.

‘Public health’ risk

A 1km restriction zone was set up around the farm on 13 October and no other poultry sites operate within it, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health​ (OIE).

The source of the outbreak remains unknown, but it hit the farm on Friday 13 October and was reported to the OIE on Monday 16 October.

In the first six months of 2017, Hong Kong bought 2,500 tonnes of frozen poultry and one million eggs from the Netherlands, according to Hong Kong’s Centre for Food Safety (CFS).

More bird flu bother

A spokesperson for the food safety agency said: “The CFS has contacted the Dutch authorities over the issue and will closely monitor information issued by the OIE on avian influenza outbreaks. Appropriate action will be taken in response to the development of the situation.​”

CFS said it suspended the import of poultry meat and eggs from Zeeland to “protect public health in Hong Kong​”.

The latest AI outbreak is a big blow to Dutch poultry producers, who were still reeling from the effects of a contaminated egg saga that led to the arrests of two people and millions of recalled eggs.

The fipronil scandal​, in August, came several months after the Dutch government rolled back disease safeguard measures, following months of AI outbreaks.

During the series of outbreaks, more than one million birds were culled from 9 November 2016 to 19 April 2017, according to the Dutch government.

Outbreaks were also reported in a string of countries across Asia​ and Europe​.

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