International trade

When is bird flu not bird flu?

As avian influenza (AI, or bird flu) continues to spread across Europe, chicken producing countries there are declaring themselves free of the disease.

Confusing, but that’s what’s happening. The United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark, France, Hungary and the Netherlands have all declared themselves AI free.

On the other hand, as the SA Poultry Association notes in its latest imports report, AI outbreaks were reported in June, July and August in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland.

The fact is that countries are not AI-free and allowed to export until the World Health Organisations says so. And that only happens after a country has gone six months without an outbreak.

So, reports of the death of bird flu in Belgium, Denmark, France and the Netherlands may be both exaggerated and premature.