EU lifts restrictions on Thai poultry after H5N1 eradication
(BRUSSELS) - The European Union decided Tuesday to lift restrictions on the import of fresh poultry meat from Thailand that had been in place since 2004 due to an avian flu outbreak.
The restrictions will end on July 1 after health experts endorsed a recommendation from the European Commission, the EU's executive arm.
The commission suspended imports of fresh poultry meat and other poultry products from Thailand eight years ago following outbreaks of the highly pathogenic HPAI H5N1 strain of avian influenza that caused worldwide panic.
But the commission said Thailand has implemented a "rigorous policy to stamp-out the pathogen, including intensive surveillance and quick elimination of infected animals, and as a result successfully eradicated HPAI H5N1 from its territory."
The last mission carried out by commission experts in Thailand in March 2011 concluded that the country "can provide sufficient guarantees to comply with the EU import requirements for poultry meat," the EU executive said in a statement.
"Given this favourable animal health situation which now prevails in Thailand, the Commission proposed to member states to lift the prohibition of imports of poultry meat from Thailand," it said.
The green light was given by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH).
The EU still has restrictions on imports of poultry meat from China as well as eggs from Malaysia and South Korea.
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