South Korea will stop importing eggs and poultry from the United States on confirmed outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza in an American chicken farm.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs announced on Monday that it will forbid importing all living fowls and birds including chicks and ducklings as well as fresh eggs from the U.S. upon report of an outbreak of highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza in a commercial chicken breeder flock of 73,500 birds in Tennessee, the U.S. The investigation over the N-subtype bird flu virus reportedly is under way.
Imports of heat-treated poultry meat and eggs will be allowed, the ministry said.
The country has been importing fresh eggs from the U.S. since January after a spread of deadly bird flu virus killed millions of chickens and ducks in Korea since the virus strain was first reported in November. Prices of fresh eggs shot up due to a shortage of supplies.
The agriculture ministry also prohibited poultry and eggs imports from Spain where an occurrence of the highly contagious H5N8 bird flu virus was observed since February 24.
Korean egg-laying hen breeders have been bringing in hens and hatching-eggs from the U.S. and Europe to get eggs but the imports from the most of the overseas countries have been banned since last year after a series of avian flu outbreaks across the globe.
Following the confirmation of avian influenza in the U.S and Spain, Korea is now left with only New Zealand, Australia, and Canada from which it can bring in egg-laying hens and hatching eggs. The Korean agriculture ministry also prohibits chicken meat imports from overseas countries except for Brazil, Chile, the Philippines, Australia, Canada, and Thailand.
By Seo Dong-cheol
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