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Philippines Bans Poultry Imports From Belgium, France To Halt Bird Flu Spread

By Reuters
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Philippines Bans Poultry Imports From Belgium, France To Halt Bird Flu Spread

The Philippines' department of agriculture has imposed an indefinite ban on imports of poultry and related products, including wild birds, from Belgium and France following a bird flu outbreak there.

"We're doing this to protect the health of our local poultry population as well as poultry workers and consumers since H5N1 is a virus that can be transmitted to humans by infected animals," agriculture secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel said in a statement.

Bird flu, which is carried by migrating wild birds and can then be transmitted between farms, has ravaged flocks around the globe in recent years, disrupting supply, pushing up food prices and raising concern of a risk of transmission to humans.

France and Belgium, which share a border, reported the bird flu outbreak in their bird populations to the World Organisation for Animal Health in November and December, respectively.

Import Ban

The Philippines' import ban will also prevent traders from bringing in Belgian and French poultry products including poultry meat, day-old chicks, hatching eggs, and poultry semen into the Philippines, the department of agriculture said.

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In 2023, the Philippines imported 426,620 metric tons of poultry meat, 3.78% higher than the previous year, with Belgium accounting for 0.59% and France 0.01%.

Elsewhere, Brazilian meat exporters, who faced the threat of bird flu reaching commercial poultry farms for the first time last year, managed to ship a record 5.138 million metric tonnes of chicken products in 2023, according to industry lobby ABPA.

The export volume, which includes fresh and processed products, confirms positive projections from ABPA last year, and represents a 6.6% rise in relation to the total exported in 2022, which was 4.822 million tonnes.

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