Lancashire exports to Hong Kong hit by avian flu case

The Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department has announced that, in view of a notification from the UK authorities about an outbreak of highly pathogenic H7N7 avian influenza in Lancashire, it has banned imports of poultry meat and products (including poultry eggs) from that area with immediate effect to protect public health in Hong Kong.

A CFS spokesman said about 18 000 tonnes of chilled and frozen poultry meat and about 7.2 million poultry eggs were imported into Hong Kong from the UK last year.

The CFS has contacted the UK authorities over the issue and will closely monitor information issued by the World Organisation for Animal Health on avian influenza outbreaks in the country. Appropriate action will be taken in response to the development of the situation.

The case of avian flu on a Lancashire poultry farm was confirmed earlier this week. A temporary control zone has been enforced over the farm, to prevent the outbreak spreading further and all birds on the site are being culled.

The current risk to public health is very low, according to Defra, while the Food Standards Agency also claimed there was currently no food safety risk for consumers.

The restrictions on the farm mean that all other poultry farms within the 10-kilometre control zone will not be able to move poultry or other animals.

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