The Department of Agriculture (DA) has issued a temporary ban on the importation of poultry products from Russia after experts detected the world’s first case of human transmission of the H5N8 strain of avian flu in the transcontinental country.
DA Memorandum Order No. 17 signed by Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said the importation of domestic and wild birds and their products from the Russian Federation such as poultry meat, day-old chicks, eggs, and semen has been suspended.
Citing reports from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), Dar said there are ongoing outbreaks of the H5N8 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in several areas of the Russian Federation.
The agriculture chief added that the Russian Federation has already reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) its first case of human transmission of the H5N8 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).
With this, Dar emphasized that there is a “need to prevent the entry of HPAI virus to protect the health of the local poultry population.” Due to the temporary ban, the department also ordered the immediate suspension of the processing, evaluation of the application, and issuance of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) import clearance to these commodities.
“Stoppage and confiscation of all shipment of the above-stated commodities with the exception on heat-treated products, provided it will undergo risk analysis to be performed by the Bureau of Animal Industry,” the order stated.
Meanwhile, all shipments in transit prior to the issuance of the memorandum order shall be allowed “provided the source is free from HPAI 21 days prior to production date,” it added.
It was only last January when the Philippines was declared free from avian influenza or bird flu by the OIE, months after avian influenza A (H5N6) was detected in Pampanga and Rizal.