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Brussels, le 22 mars 2004

Suspension of poultry imports from the USA after an avian influenza outbreak prolonged

The Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health today approved a Commission proposal to prolong until 23 April the suspension of imports of live poultry, poultry meat and products, eggs and pet birds from the USA. These import restrictions were imposed after the confirmation of a highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak in this country. The current disease situation and available information do for the moment not allow a reduction of the protective measures to a confined area. The situation will be reviewed at the next meeting of the Committee, scheduled for 30 March. At this meeting the avian influenza situation in Canada will also be reviewed.

On 23 February, the US authorities confirmed an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the State of Texas. To protect the European poultry flocks and to avoid the introduction of the disease into the EU, the European Commission immediately decided to suspend the imports of live poultry, ratites, farmed and wild feathered game, fresh meat, meat products, hatching eggs and eggs for human consumption of these species and birds other than poultry (pet birds) from all of the USA (See IP/04/257).

Since the notification of the outbreak, the USA has communicated additional information on the disease situation and the control measures taken with a view to obtain the implementation by the EU of regionalisation measures, in accordance with the provisions in the Veterinary Agreement between the EU and the USA. However, the information available at present still does not yet allow the protection measures to be reduced to a confined area. Therefore, the existing measures are prolonged until 23 April.

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