Dubai: The UAE has banned the import of live birds from the Netherlands following an outbreak of the highly contagious H5N8 bird flu strain, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment said on Thursday.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) issued a notification of the outbreak of a highly pathogenic strain of bird flu, H5N8, in the Flevoland province of the Netherlands that led to destroying more than 150,000 chicken, the ministry said.
Following the ban, the ministry has taken a few precautionary measures that include banning the import of all species of domestic and wild live birds, ornamental birds, chicks, hatching eggs and their non-heat-treated by-products from the Netherlands.
Stopping the import of poultry meat and non-heat-treated products and table eggs from the Flevoland province, however, thermally treated poultry products (meat and eggs) from all parts of the Netherlands have been cleared for import.
Dr Majid Sultan Al Qasimi, assistant undersecretary for the Food Diversity Sector at the ministry, said, “These measures reiterate the ministry’s keenness in achieving its strategic objectives including enhancing biosecurity levels and eliminating pathogens before they enter the country.
“In doing so, the ministry prevents bird flu and related risks and their impacts on the country’s poultry health and safety, in addition to protecting public health and well-being.”
However, the ministry has carefully been scrutinising documentation accompanying consignments (certificates of origin, health certificates and halal certificates, among others) of food products shipped into the country.
The ministry is also conducting sensory detection to ensure that the quality of the products complies with the UAE’s stringent standards. Samples of food products from shipments are transferred to laboratories for the necessary tests to ensure they are safe and fit to enter the country.