PH temporarily bans poultry products from Australia amid bird flu outbreak

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 19, 2020   •   733

The Philippine government has implemented a temporary ban on poultry products from Australia following the bird flu outbreak in the said country.

Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary William Dar issued Memorandum Order No. 40 series of 2020 on August 14 which was released to the media on Wednesday (August 19). The memorandum states the ban of importing poultry products including chicken meat and eggs from Australia.

On July 31, the Australian government reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza H7N7 in Victoria, Australia.

Meanwhile, meat processors raised concerns over possible shortage of mechanically deboned chicken (MDM) due to the said temporary ban. According to the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Incorporated (PAMPI), MDM is a common ingredient for emulsified products like meatloaf, hotdog, siomai and others.

The DA recently implemented a temporary ban on poultry products from Brazil after a batch of frozen chicken wings from said country reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Due to this, PAMPI spokesperson Rex Agarrado said this could affect canned goods companies.

“The travel time in the Philippines to Brazil or Brazil to the Philippines is five to six weeks; eight weeks if you go to Cebu. You will realize that in a matter of time, 6 weeks from now, 7 weeks from now, you will see some brands not being available in the market anymore,” he said.

Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director Ronnie Domingo, however, assured the supply of imported chicken in the country will not be affected by the import bans. Domingo also said there is a 150-day surplus of chicken in the country.

“Marami po tayong bansa na kinukuhanan ng manok. Labing apat na bansa po iyon. Hindi po natin sinarado po iyon at ikalawa, sobra po ang manok natin this year, (We get our chicken supply from numerous countries. There are 14 of them. We also have a surplus of supply this year)” he said. AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

Philippines now free of H5N6 bird flu – DA

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is now free of Avian Influenza (AI) or bird flu, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Tuesday.

In a statement, the DA announced that the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) declared the country free of the last remaining A(H5N6) strain of Avian Influenza on January 8, 2021.

The department said the country was able to resolve the outbreaks of AI A(H5N6) in a commercial layer poultry farm in Pampanga, and backyard poultry farms in a village in Rizal, in less than a year after the poultry virus reemerged in the country.

In its report to the OIE, the DA Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) said the affected farms showed no further evidence of the presence of the AI virus during the monitoring and surveillance.

“We had not detected any case of AI A(H5N6) among the poultry and other bird population in the last 90 days after the completion of cleaning and disinfection in the affected farms, surveillance and monitoring, and completion of the 35-day restocking period with sentinel animals in Pampanga and Rizal,” the DA-BAI said.

The recurrence of A(H5N6) was confirmed by the DA-BAI Animal Disease Diagnosis and Reference Laboratory on July 10, 2020, after the owner of the commercial layer farm notified the Pampanga provincial veterinary office about the sudden drop in egg production, cyanosis (dark bluish or purplish coloration of the skin and mucous membranes in chickens), and mortalities.

Another case was detected in Rizal, as reported by a farmer on August 26, 2020, to the municipal veterinary office of Taytay.

The backyard farm had approximately 500 heads of free-range chicken and 300 heads of Muscovy ducks. The clinical signs — such as wry neck or torticollis, cyanosis of extremities — and death were observed since August 10, 2020.

As a result of the swift action of the farm owners, sanitary control and containment operations to prevent the further spread of the virus were carried out immediately, the DA said.

“We appreciate the rapid response and collaboration of the local government units of Pampanga and Rizal and DA Regional Field Offices III and IV-A,” the DA-BAI said.

The agency also thanked the affected farmers — for their prompt reporting that led to the early containment of the disease — the poultry stakeholders, and partners from the Department of Health for extending support to the prevention and control of AI.

To recall, the Philippines also resolved the outbreak cases in 2017 and in 2018.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said this is a welcome development considering that poultry meat is a highly popular animal protein source among Filipinos, like pork and beef.

“I congratulate the DA-BAI and the local governments of Pampanga and Rizal, whose swift action resulted in limiting the further spread of the AI A(H5N6) strain to other areas,” Dar said.

The DA-BAI, however, reminds poultry farmers and industry stakeholders to remain vigilant and report any unusual mortalities to their respective farm veterinarians or nearest government veterinary or agriculture office.

Brisbane, Australia under 3-day lockdown to prevent spread of COVID-19 strain

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 8, 2021

Australian authorities have implemented a 3-day lockdown in Brisbane to prevent the further spread of the new COVID-19 variant.

This was after a quarantine hotel worker tested positive for the UK COVID-19 variant. The 79 individuals in close contact with the quarantine hotel worker are currently isolated and under quarantine.

Residents are also advised to wear face masks when leaving the house.

Wedding and funeral ceremonies are still allowed but with limited attendees.

Around 2 million residents will have to stay home unless they have to leave due to essential business.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the lockdown will be done “to enable Queensland health authorities to get on top of the UK strain case in Brisbane.”

90 pilot whales die after mass whale stranding in Australia

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 22, 2020

At least 90 pilot whales are reportedly dead after around 270 whales washed up on a sandbar in the coast of Tasmania in Australia.

Marine rescue teams arrived on Monday (September 21) to save the whales, however, authorities estimated there will be more casualties due to difficulty in getting the whales back to the ocean.

“We’ve got animals spread over a large area and in really challenging locations. We’re going to take the animals with the best chance to start with and the ones that we are able to deal with,” according to Parks and Wildlife Services marine biologist Dr. Kris Carlyon.

Carlyon also reported that authorities began its large scale operation on Tuesday (September 22), however, he said it will still take days. Experts are still investigating the cause of the mass stranding but it might be due to food hunting. AAC (with reports from Nina Bascon)

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