No spread of avian flu: COA
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, March 19 (CNA) Outbreaks of avian influenza have not spread from farms in central and southern Taiwan and current cases are isolated ones, a Council of Agriculture (COA) official said Monday.
Deputy COA Minister Hu Hsing-hua made the remarks in response to questions as to whether the avian flu has spread after new reported outbreaks in two chicken farms in Tainan, southern Taiwan.
Hu said that "we hope to step up our guard against the outbreak and take the initiative to conduct monitoring."
The COA has imposed movement controls on the two latest chicken farms, located in Kuantien and Shanhua townships, respectively. Chickens slaughtered there have been frozen and the farms disinfected. Other chicken farms within a radius of 3 kilometers of the suspect farms are being inspected.
Since the COA confirmed the first outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza March 3, chicken farms in Changhua, Tainan and Nantou have reported avian flu outbreaks.
In a related development, meanwhile, chicken farmers said a new measure to conduct spot checks on meat around the island starting March 20 will not affect the price of chicken products.
But Poultry Association of the Republic of China Chairman Wang Chin-tien suggested that the checks should be put off so as not to avoid more uneasiness among consumers.
Wang said that egg output has fallen off recently due to unsettled weather. He added that chickens raised for meat are also at a low output, which further cushions the impact of the avian flu outbreak.
He noted that normal chicken output is between 3.9 million and 4 million carcases per week, but currently the actual output is 3.75 million. He said the smaller supply means that fluctuations in chicken prices will not be dramatic.
The Department of Health has announced that it will conduct spot checks on 1,000 beef, pork, duck and goose samples around the country from Tuesday and will publish the names of anyone found supplying problematic products.
The products to be tested will include 500 beef samples, 400 pork samples, and 100 duck and goose samples.
(By Huang Chiao-wen, Lin Heng-li and Lilian Wu)
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