Japan to relax US poultry import bans over bird flu concerns

TOKYO, Nov. 6 ― Japan’s agriculture ministry has approved a draft report to amend restrictions to the importation of poultry from the United States in the event of deadly avian influenza outbreaks.

From June 2012, Japan has a system that suspends poultry imports from the U.S. states that detect strains of the avian flu virus, and the ban will be lifted 90 days after all affected US poultry farms finish culling their birds and concludes necessary sanitary procedures.

Avian flu, commonly referred to as bird flu, is an infectious viral disease that mainly effects birds, but can potentially cause serious illness in humans. This is a worldwide problem.

The agriculture ministry’s draft report now proposes Japan will narrow its bans to only poultry from a U.S. county that is detected the virus.

This is good news for the U.S. meat exporters as the poultry trade would not be disrupted in the event of bird flu outbreaks.

The Japanese agriculture ministry will also review its complete ban on the importation of beef from the U.S. in the event of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreaks.

Currently, Japan applies bans to all U.S. beef when the virus is detected.

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