THE Department of Agriculture (DA) has prohibited the importation of domestic poultry meat and products from Belgium and France due to the bird flu outbreak in these countries.
In a statement on Tuesday, January 9, 2024, the DA said the ban, which covers wild birds and their products, including poultry meat, day-old chicks, eggs and semen, aims to prevent the possible entry of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza or HPAI-H5N1 in the country.
It is effective starting January 8 and until further notice.
“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.
On November 30, 2023, France submitted a bird flu outbreak on domestic birds to the World Organization for Animal Health while Belgium made its report the day after, December 1.
The DA noted that meat imports that are already in transit, ordered, and accepted prior to the release of the ban will still be allowed entry in the country provided the products were slaughtered or produced on or before November 12, 2023 as France is concerned, while November 16, 2023 for Belgium.
It said only heat-treated products that were produced beyond the said dates will be considered upon arrival in the Philippines.
For 2022, the country imported 411,070 metric tons worth $468,455,990 of poultry meat in which 2.60 percent were from Belgium.
The importation of poultry meat of the country increased by 3.78 percent in 2023 at 426,620 metric tons valued at $418,130,353, in which .01 percent was from France and 0.59 percent from Belgium. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)