Meat importers brace for another supply crunch

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    The reported outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus in one area in the Netherlands may cut off 42 percent of the country’s supply of mechanically-deboned meat (MDM) of chicken.

    This is yet another blow to meat importers following the ban on all poultry products except for chicken MDM from Brazil.

    Meat importers expressed fear the government may impose a ban on poultry imports from the entire Netherlands.

    The Netherlands reported to the World Organization for Animal Health
    the outbreak that started last month in Altforst, Gelderland which led to the death of 400 and culling of 35,350 broilers.

    The Philippines imported from Netherlands 87 million kilograms (kg) out of the 208 million kgs of MDM for the year ending September, data from the Bureau of Animal Industry showed.

    In a span of five years except in 2019, the Department of Agriculture (DA) implemented and lifted several bans on the entry of poultry products from the Netherlands due to avian influenza. However, the scope of the bans varied.

    Ahead of an official move from the DA, the Philippine Association of Feed Millers Inc. (PAFMI) is pushing for the ban given the confirmation of the reported outbreak.

    “The feed milling industry believes that the health and safety of our citizens must never be compromised especially at this time that the country is coping with the challenges of the COVID-19 (new coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic and the economic difficulties resulting from the worldwide pandemic and the recent typhoons that have wreaked havoc on the country’s agriculture and industries,” said Nicole Sarmiento Garcia, PAFMI president.