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Brussels, 13 June 2003

Avian influenza: First easing of restrictions in the Netherlands

The Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health today agreed to re-authorise as of 18 June the export of live poultry and hatching eggs from certain parts of the Netherlands, provided no further outbreaks or suspicions are recorded. Restrictions remain in place for the 5 provinces with surveillance zones. No further decisions were taken for Belgium and Germany.

The Netherlands

Since the start of the avian influenza epidemic in the Netherlands on 28 February 2003, no live poultry, hatching eggs and fresh, unprocessed poultry manure or litter may be exported to other Member States or third countries and, with some derogations, no live poultry and hatching eggs may be transported within the Netherlands. The derogations apply to day-old chicks, pullets and poultry for immediate slaughter.

As no new outbreaks have been confirmed in the Netherlands since early May, the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health voted today unanimously in favour of a European Commission proposal to limit these restrictions to certain provinces of the Netherlands as of 18 June: Flevoland, Gelderland, Limburg, Noord-Brabant and Utrecht.

Belgium and Germany

As agreed in the Committee meeting of 28 May, the restrictions still applicable in the provinces of Antwerp and Limburg have expired on 11 June. They now only apply in the surveillance zones (10 km zones around the outbreaks). In Germany the restrictive measures will continue to apply in the part of North Rhine-Westphalia west of the Rhine until 24 June. From 25 June onwards they will only apply in the surveillance zone established around the single outbreak that had been recorded in Germany.

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