Food Law News - EU - 2005

Commission Press Release (IP/05/1460), 23 November 2005

AVIAN FLU - Adjustments to import bans and to biosecurity requirements agreed

Member States have endorsed a number of Commission decisions on import restrictions and biosecurity measures currently in place against the risk of avian influenza, at the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCFCAH) today. It was agreed that, for Turkey and Croatia, the existing ban on import to the EU will be regionalised to cover only the areas previously affected by avian influenza, given the strict control measures applied in these countries. In relation to Romania, the ban on imports of live poultry will continue to apply for the whole country, whilst a regionalised approach is now taken for poultry meat and poultry products. For Russia, it was agreed to prolong the existing measures and to further apply the principle of regionalisation. The Standing Committee also voted in favour of a Commission proposal to extend until 31 May 2006 biosecurity measures in place to protect domestic flocks from avian influenza.

Import Bans Adapted

As outbreaks of avian influenza were confirmed in Russia, Turkey, Romania and Croatia this autumn, the Commission imposed immediate import bans on live birds, poultry meat and other poultry products from these countries, as applicable. These bans can now be revised in light of information provided on the avian influenza situation and measures taken to control the disease in each country.

For Croatia, the import ban will now only apply to the counties of Viroviticko-Podravska and Osjecko-Baranjska, while for Turkey the ban on imports of feathers will be limited to the province of Balkesir. With regard to Romania, the restrictions on EU imports of live poultry will continue to apply to the whole country, but the ban on poultry meat and poultry meat products will be regionalised to cover the counties of Tulcea, Constanta, Galati, Braila, Ialomita and Calarasi. In relation to Russia, the measures applicable until 31 December have been extended until 31 March 2005, whilst at the same time restrictions have been adapted for non-affected regions.

Biosecurity measures to be reviewed

The Standing Committee voted in favour of extending to 31 May 2006 the biosecurity measures in place to protect domestic flocks from avian influenza, which under the current decision expire at the end of the months.

As of 1 December 2005, biosecurity measures in place to protect domestic flocks from avian influenza have been adapted so that national authorities will re-evaluate, as necessary, identified High Risk Areas, taking into account the latest epidemiological and ornithological situation. Member States are responsible for defining these risk areas, on the basis of common EU factors agreed in October (see IP/05/1284), and then applying appropriate risk mitigating measures.

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