MANILA - The Department of Agriculture (DA) has lifted the ban on all imports of domestic and wild birds along with poultry and its products from Germany and Japan, following reports that the 2 countries are free from the avian influenza (AI) virus.
Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap issued the order after an evaluation done by the DA's Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), which showed that "the risk of contamination from importing poultry and poultry products from Germany and Japan is already negligible."
Yap also cited the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) or World Animal Health Organization, which confirmed that Germany and Japan have regained their "avian influenza free status."
The OIE based its findings on separate reports submitted by Japan's Food Safety and Consumer Affairs and the Department of Health and Food Hygiene, Federal Ministry for Food, Agriculture, and Consumer Protection of Germany.
The Terrestrial Animal Health Code of the OIE sets a 3-month period before a country can regain its bird-free status after conducting a stamping-out campaign to eradicate birds infected with the AI virus.
The Philippines is one of only 3 AI-free countries in Southeast Asia, the DA said. The 2 others are Brunei and Singapore. To help maintain this status, the DA said it has established AI task forces, preparedness and response plans, community-based workshops, and other training programs.
The DA added that it has been upgrading facilities at the Philippine Animal Health Center and Regional Animal Diagnostic Laboratories in Cebu, Zamboanga City, Cagayan de Oro City, and General Santos City.