US orders restrictions on poultry in Victoria after bird flu outbreak, but industry expects limited impact | rural australia

New restrictions on the entry of poultry and poultry by-products from Victoria into the United States will have a limited impact on the local industry, a leading group says.

The order was prompted by an outbreak of avian influenza at two farms in southwestern Victoria operated by Avgo and Surf Coast Egg Farms.

More than 500,000 chickens were culled after H7N3 cases were detected on the Meredith and Terang properties which share management, staff and machinery.

On Saturday, the United States Department of Agriculture imposed restrictions on poultry products originating in or transiting Victoria beginning May 22.

The restrictions apply to certain fresh poultry products, commercial poultry, hatching eggs, by-products and various other poultry products.

Any import into the US of processed products must have a government permit or certification confirming that they were treated in accordance with Department of Agriculture guidelines.

We have issued a housing requirement for all birds within the movement control zones around Meredith and Terang.

All poultry farmers, backyard flocks and bird owners should house birds in cages or sheds.

Report sick or dead birds to 1800 266 266 👉 https://t.co/bq6qMabTvC pic.twitter.com/DvVS8eyc4t

— Agriculture Victoria (@VicGovAg) May 24, 2024

Australian Poultry Federation chief executive Mary Wu said the restrictions would not have a major impact on the local meat industry, but would likely affect related poultry products such as rendered proteins and pet food.

“The direct impact of US trade restrictions will be very limited as Australia does not export fresh chicken meat to the US,” Wu said.

He said the federation was working to restore trade with the United States “as soon as possible” by working closely with Australian and US authorities.

No restrictions have been placed on poultry products from other Australian states.

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Victorian Farmers Federation president and egg producer Danyel Cucinotta said export restrictions were never good news for farmers, but the federation was focused on containing the spread on local farms.

Cucinotta estimated that the outbreak and related culling could deprive retailers of 450,000 eggs a day and said it could take between six months and three years for affected farms to return to normal production.

An Aldi spokesperson told AAP that customers may notice small gaps on shelves in some stores, while Woolworths said it did not expect the outbreak to affect its supply.

The United States has also imposed restrictions on poultry products from other areas with flu outbreaks, including parts of Japan and Canada.

Domestic or zoo birds, pigeons and pigeons can still be imported from Victoria with a permit from the US government, but will be quarantined for 30 days in New York or Miami.

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