Brussels, 13 October 2005
The Commission today formally adopted measures restricting imports of live birds, poultry meat and other poultry products from Romania. The virus found in Romania has been confirmed as the H5 type and further tests will be necessary to confirm (expected by late Friday) whether it is the H5N1 strain found in South-East Asia. Reinforced preventive measures proposed by the Commission to reduce risk of introduction of avian influenza into the EU poultry farm are being discussed in an on-going session of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCFCAH) and will be voted on tomorrow.
The Commission proposal on preventive measures includes a requirement for Member States to reduce the possible risk of contact between wild birds from poultry in high risk areas such as wetlands or other areas known to be frequented by migratory birds. Each Member State will define which areas are at risk and apply the necessary measures to separate wild birds from poultry. Where necessary, this could include keeping poultry indoors in high risk areas. The Commission will need to be informed on the way that Member States apply the preventive measures. The criteria and risk factors to be considered are still being discussed with the Member States in the SCFCAH and will be further developed tomorrow when experts on migratory routes, wild birds and hunting will be attending the SCFCAH. The discussion will continue tomorrow and it can be expected that the measures will be submitted to a vote tomorrow to the SCFCAH. Formal adoption of the decision by the Commission will then take some days but Member States may apply the measures immediately.
Following the confirmation of avian influenza in Romania, import restrictions were immediately proposed by the Commission at an emergency session of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health. The measures have been immediately endorsed by the Member States, formally adopted by the Commission and will be published in the Official Journal of the EU tomorrow.
Imports of live birds and feathers from Turkey have already been banned by the Commission since Monday following the finding of avian influenza virus there.