January 19, 2024
MANILA —The Philippines’ Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Wednesday it has banned imports of domesticated and wild birds, including poultry meat and eggs, from California and Ohio in the United States because of several outbreaks there of highly pathogenic avian influenza.
According to Memorandum Order No. 03 signed on Jan. 15, the temporary importation ban covers domestic and wild birds and their products, including poultry meat, day-old chicks, eggs and semen.
The DA immediately suspended the processing, evaluation of the application and issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance for poultry imports originating from California and Ohio.
However, the order excludes shipments that are in transit, loaded or accepted unto port as long as these were slaughtered or produced 14 days before California’s first avian flu outbreak on Nov. 20, 2023 and Ohio’s first outbreak on Nov. 21, 2023.
“Poultry and poultry products imported to the country from the states of California and Ohio after Nov 14, 2023 and Nov 21, 2023, respectively, shall be seized and destroyed by the DA, or returned to the country of origin,” DA said.
The agency made the issuance as American authorities informed the World Organization for Animal Health of several outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) subtype H5N1 affecting domestic birds.
Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu-Laurel Jr. explained that imposing import restrictions on poultry products from the two states is necessary to prevent the virus from entering the Philippines.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, HPAI may cause severe disease and high mortality in infected poultry.
Domesticated and wild birds in California and Ohio have been diagnosed with the H5N1 strain of the HPAI, which is highly contagious and dangerous for poultry.
The DA clarified that the Philippines can still import poultry and poultry products from other states in the US.
The US is the second biggest supplier of imported poultry and poultry products to the Philippines, accounting for about 40 percent of total poultry meat arrivals (426,620 metric tons). —Jordeene B. Lagare, Zeus Legaspi with a report from Reuters