EU member states extend Russian import ban to halt threat of avian flu
European Union member states have endorsed decisions aimed at reducing the threat of avian influenza, including an extension of the Russian import ban and further biosecurity measures for domestic flocks.
Following an outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza in Tula, south of Moscow, the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCFCAH) Thursday backed a draft commission decision to ban all imports of live pet birds and unprocessed feathers from the European part of Russia.
The only areas to which the ban will not apply are St. Petersburg and some regions on the border with Finland.
The decision extends the embargo on imports from the Russian regions east of the Ural Mountains, which has been in place since Sept. 8. The EU has no trade with Russia for eggs, poultry meat or meat products, and therefore did not deem a ban necessary for those products.
The committee mentioned that it is closely following the suspicion of avian influenza in Greece, although noted that so far the presence of the virus has not been confirmed.
The SCFCAH also voted in favor of restricting the keeping of poultry outdoors in areas of particular risk of avian influenza so that wild birds have no contact with feed and water destined for poultry. Member states are responsible for defining the risk areas, on the basis of common EU risk factors agreed last week.