24 January 2004

Malaysia bans Thai chicken
products over bird flu scare

KUALA LUMPUR : Malaysia has banned the import of chicken products from neighbouring Thailand after the confirmation of an outbreak of bird flu in the country, newspapers reported.
The ban covers the import of live chicken, eggs and chicken meat, Agriculture Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times.
The length of the ban depended on the situation in the future, he said, according to the Bernama news agency.
He added that the Veterinary Department had been instructed to monitor local chicken farms for the flu.
After weeks of denials, Thailand admitted Friday that bird flu had infected humans and chickens in the kingdom, and ordered a complete halt to its billion-dollar poultry export business.
It also announced the first death of a Thai suspected to have contracted the disease, a 56-year-old man who raised fighting cocks at his home just east of Bangkok.
The virus has also hit five other Asian countries, with Cambodia the latest to report cases.
"We fear, that if we do not do so (impose a ban), the bird flu could spread to Malaysia," Mr Muhyiddin was quoted as saying by the Utusan Malaysia.
He said Malaysia had only previously banned live chickens from Thailand to protect local breeders, but the ban on its processed meat was now necessary.
Taiwan has also temporarily banned imports of chicken products from Thailand "in order to protect the safety of the domestic poultry industry," said a statement by the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine.
It also cautioned Taiwanese poultry producers not to visit chicken farms in Thailand and other countries infected with bird flu in the near future.
The domestic supply of poultry would not be affected as Taiwan had already prohibited imports of live chickens, eggs and chicken meat from Thailand prior to the outbreak.
Both Malaysia and Taiwan have already banned the import of poultry from Vietnam, Japan and South Korea -- countries which have had confirmed cases of bird flu. - CNA

January 24, 2004

S'pore, KL freeze poultry plans

Sari P. Setiogi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Singapore and Malaysia have postponed plans to import poultry products from Indonesia amid rising worries over the current outbreak of bird flu in the Asian region, according to a government official.
"They were in the process of examining our poultry industry, checking the slaughter houses and disease prevention system. With the current bird flu scare, the examination process might take a longer time," director of the veterinary community of the Ministry of Agriculture, Bachtiar Moerad, told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
He said that the two countries postponed their import plans following the death of thousands of chickens on Bali Island over the past three months.
But Bachtiar said that the death was caused by the Newcastle disease, not bird flu, which has hit a number of countries like Vietnam, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.
Thailand confirmed on Friday that there were bird flu cases in the country, and the government decided to suspend all chicken exports.

Parent site: "Focus on Malaysia"