Thailand 'seeking to bypass' EU ban chicken ban
6 February 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Despite the EU ban on the importation of Thai chicken, there remains a considerable risk that chicken from the bird flu-ravaged South East Asian nation might enter the European market via Poland, a Dutch poultry industry chief warned on Friday.
6 February 2004
AMSTERDAM — Despite the EU ban on the importation of Thai chicken, there remains a considerable risk that chicken from the bird flu-ravaged South East Asian nation might enter the European market via Poland, a Dutch poultry industry chief warned on Friday.
The EU extended its ban on Thai chicken earlier this week to 15 August, but the chairman of the Dutch poultry processing industry association Nepluvi, Jan Odink, accused Thailand of trying to secretly pass on its chicken products to international markets.
He said Thailand was working with countries that were in a position to help, such as Poland. Odink also said Nepluvi has "definite indications" that Thai chicken meat is being packed in new wrapping and transported to, for example, the Netherlands and Germany,
Nepluvi has warned Dutch authorities and has also sought contact with Poland and Germany. The German custom's service is conducting intensified border controls, Dutch daily newspaper De Telegraaf reported.
The outbreak of the bird flu in several Asian countries, including Thailand, has not yet been brought under control and at least 18 people have been killed after contracting the illness from infected poultry.
Food and health experts met in Rome this week to try and identify ways to counter the deadly avian flu outbreak, BBC reported. There is concern that the virus might mutate and spread between humans.
The UN health agency WHO — which sponsored the talks — has warned against "scaremongering", but has said millions of people could be killed if the disease were to mingle with the ordinary flu virus.
Millions of chickens have already been slaughtered in a preventative cull across Asia to restrict the outbreak. The EU slapped a ban on Thai chicken imports on 23 January.
Human deaths are believed to be caused by direct contact with poultry, but there have only been fatalities reported in Vietnam and Thailand. Despite this, the potentially-fatal H5N1 strain has also been found in other countries in the region.
Researchers have also found traces of the H5N1 virus in pigs in Vietnam's capital Hanoi and the immediate vicinity, the UN food and agriculture organisation FAO said on Friday.
But WHO reacted cautiously to the news, saying there is no conclusive evidence of infections in pigs and that initial test results are "very premature", Dutch news agency ANP reported.
Fears that avian influenza had reached Germany were ruled out on Tuesday after medical tests cleared a woman suspected of having carried the disease home following an Asian holiday.
The woman was, with near 100 percent certainty, was infected with a human influenza virus according to the findings of tests carried out by the Hamburg clinic for tropical diseases.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch + German news