DA bans poultry imports from Australia

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    A week after the Department of Agriculture (DA) imposed a ban on the entry of poultry products from Brazil, the agency has issued a similar order on those coming from Australia.

    The DA said the decision was based on a report submitted by Australia’s chief veterinary officer to the World Organization for Animal Health that the country registered an outbreak of H7N7 highly pathogenic avian influenza in Lethbridge, Victoria.

    Memorandum Order 40 bans the importation of domestic and wild birds and their products including poultry meat, day-old chicks and semen from Australia.

    The order also suspends the processing and evaluation of application and issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) import clearance of said products from Australia.

    However, all incoming poultry shipments with SPS clearance issued on or before August 6 will be allowed provided the process date of the products is on or before the July 3 outbreak. These shipments will be subject to quarantine rules.

    According to the Bureau of Animal Industry, the Philippines imported a total of 242,228,181 kilograms of chicken products between January and July of which 999,550 kgs. or 0.4 percent came from Australia while 55,395,826 kg or almost 23 percent came from Brazil.
    Stricter measures

    Meanwhile, feed millers are seeking for stricter measures on the importation of livestock and poultry products to stop the entry of contaminated meat in the country.

    In a letter to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, co-chair of the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the Philippine Association of Feed Millers (PAFMI) expressed support to the ban of the importation of chicken from Brazil following reports some shipments to China tested positive of the new coronavirus disease 2019.

    Nicole Sarmiento-Garcia, PAFMI president, vowed to support the local poultry and livestock industry as a threat to these sectors is also a threat to the feedmilling industry.

    “At these unpredictable times, it is with the greatest reason to protect and safeguard our country’s food safety and ensuring clean and healthy food on our tables,” Garcia said.

    The feed millers added government should encourage the consumers to buy locally to ensure local businesses run and are able to continue providing gainful employment to Filipino workers.

    PAFMI is the largest association of feed millers in the country producing 70 percent of the animal feeds consumed locally. It has 33 member companies including San Miguel Corp., General Milling Corp., La Filipina Uygongco Corp., Pilmico Foods and Universal Robina Corp. among others.

    PAFMI earlier warned the unresolved issue over which between the Department of Health (DOH) and the DA has the authority or control over veterinary medicine and related products may hamper the government and private sectors’ response to the Asian swine flu (ASF) and avian influenza (AI) virus that continue to infect the country’s hog and poultry population.

    The group suggests the extension for five years the validity of Joint Administrative Order 2013-006 which allows the Bureau of Animal Industry to “register veterinary drugs and products, veterinary biological products intended solely for animal use and license the establishments manufacturing, distributing, exporting and selling the same.”

    The JAO expired in 2018 and left the animal feeds and veterinary medicine industries needing guidance especially with imports nearing arrival and requiring government approvals.