Agri Dep’t lifts ban on poultry imports from US, Japan | Inquirer Business
Order signed by controversial official

Agri Dep’t lifts ban on poultry imports from US, Japan

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is now allowing the entry of poultry products from the United States and Japan after these exporting areas have been declared free from bird flu.

In separate issuances, the DA said it had lifted the temporary ban on the importation of domestic and wild birds and their products including poultry meat, day-old chicks, eggs and semen.

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“Based on the evaluation of the Department of Agriculture (DA), the risk of contamination from importing poultry meat, day old chicks, eggs and semen is negligible,” read the orders both dated Aug. 12 signed by former Agriculture Undersecretary for Operations and Chief of Staff Leocadio Sebastian.

Outbreaks ‘resolved’

The orders were signed a day after Sebastian submitted on Aug. 11 a letter to quit his DA post following a sugar importation order controversy.

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The DA had temporarily barred poultry imports from Missouri and Japan in April this year and November last year, respectively, after reporting cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

The avian flu outbreak was first reported in Missouri on March 1; South Dakota, on March 3; Iowa, on March 6; Minnesota, on March 25 and North Dakota, on March 29.

Philippine and American veterinary authorities reached in 2016 an agreement stating that a state-wide ban would only be imposed if there were three or more counties affected with HPAI in one state.

Since then, all HPAI outbreaks in Missouri “are now closed and resolved,” based on the report of the veterinary authority of the United States to the World Organization for Animal Health and the supporting documents submitted by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the US Department of Agriculture.

Virus-free JapanIn the case of Japan, several HPAI outbreaks had been recorded in Yokote City, Akita Prefecture, in the latter part of 2021. But Japan is now free from the virus.

“All import transactions of the above bird species shall be in accordance with existing rules and regulations of the DA,” the memo said.

The existing laws and issuances authorize the DA to suspend the entry of animals, animal effects, parts or products from any country with dangerous communicable animal disease. INQ

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