St Lucia has placed a ban on poultry products from the United States after the country confirmed the Avian flu in eight states.
“The Avian flu is designated as either Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) or Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI) based on the characteristics of the virus and the ability of the virus to cause disease and mortality in chickens,” said Acting Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Auria King-Cenac.
“HPAI causes high mortality in birds. Both strains are highly contagious and extremely detrimental to the poultry industry.”
Canada reported the detection of HPAI among commercial flocks in British Columbia in December 2014, while the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has detected the HPAI H5 virus in wild birds, as well as in a few backyard and commercial poultry flocks in the US states of Arkansas, California, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon and Washington State.
“Based on St Lucia’s import requirements, all poultry and poultry products raised, processed, or stored in the mentioned states are not eligible for export to St Lucia and the importation of poultry from these areas is not permitted,” King-Cenac said.
“Travellers are asked to note that effective immediately, all personal (casual) imports of all fresh, frozen or cooked poultry and poultry products from the US are restricted until further notice.”
The Veterinary and Livestock Services Division assures the public that “there is no immediate food safety risk and the consumption of properly cooked poultry meat and poultry products remains safe”.
The division said it would continue to monitor the disease situation in North America and by extension the region, to determine whether any further steps are necessary to safeguard the island’s poultry sector as well as human health.