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Philippines bans importation of poultry, live birds from California, Ohio

The Philippine government, through the Department of Agriculture (DA), has banned the entry of live birds and poultry products from California and Ohio in the USA due to bird flu outbreaks in those states.

In a statement on Wednesday, the DA said it is prohibiting the importation of domesticated and wild birds, including poultry meat, eggs and other products, from the mentioned American states “due to several outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).”

The agency said that Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. ordered the ban amid the rapid spread of the HPAI H5N1 strain in the US since the first laboratory detection.

Laurel said the outbreak “necessitates a wider coverage of the trade restriction to prevent the entry of HPAI virus and protect the health of the local population.”

Apart from banning birds and other poultry products such as meat, eggs, day-old chicks and semen, Laurel also ordered the immediate suspension of the processing, evaluation of application, and issuance of the Sanitary Phytosanitary Import Clearance (SPSIC) of said commodities.

However, the DA said that all shipments coming from California and Ohio that are already in transit, loaded or accepted at Philippine ports before the official communication of the ban on January 15, 2024 shall be allowed, provided that those products were produced or the birds were slaughtered 14 days before the first outbreak.

The Philippine’s importation of poultry meat from the US in 2023 reached 166,356 metric tons valued at $175,783,193, according to the DA.

The US also ranks second in the list of countries supplying poultry meat to the Philippines, which is roughly 40% of total poultry meat arrivals at 426,620 metric tons.

Meanwhile, the DA said other states from the US are excluded in the temporary restriction and can still import poultry and poultry products to the Philippines.

Poultry and poultry products imported to the country from the states of California and Ohio after November 14, 2023 and November 21, 2023 respectively, shall be seized and destroyed by the DA, or returned to the country of origin, it said.—RF, GMA Integrated News