Hong Kong Implements Precautionary Measures Amid Bird Flu Outbreaks in US Regions

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Hong Kong authorities have taken preemptive action, suspending the import of poultry meat and products, including eggs, from specific areas of the United States to mitigate the risk of bird flu transmission.

The ban, effective immediately, targets imports from Michigan and Texas, prompted by alerts from the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) regarding outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza in Ionia County, Michigan, and Parmer County, Texas.

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) within Hong Kong’s Food and Environmental Hygiene Department stated its intention to closely monitor developments in collaboration with relevant authorities. A spokesperson affirmed that appropriate measures would be implemented in response to evolving circumstances.

The primary objective of the suspension is to safeguard public health within Hong Kong, underscoring the proactive stance of local authorities in addressing potential health risks.

Highlighting the significance of the move, the CFS spokesperson referenced import statistics from the Census and Statistics Department, indicating substantial volumes of chilled and frozen poultry meat, along with millions of poultry eggs imported from the US in the previous year.

The announcement comes on the heels of US-based Cal-Maine Foods’ decision to halt production temporarily at a facility in Texas following the detection of avian influenza. The affected site in Parmer County reported positive tests for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), resulting in the depopulation of a significant portion of the company’s laying hens and pullets.

Cal-Maine Foods also disclosed incidents of HPAI at another facility in Kansas during the same period, further emphasizing the severity and widespread nature of the outbreak.