The import of American poultry and poultry products have been suspended by South Korea due to a bird flu outbreak that hit the United States, the Agriculture Ministry officials said in a released statement on Sunday.
The suspension, which came in effect from Saturday, comes as South Korea battles to contain its own outbreak of avian flu in birds.
While mentioning about the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus, the statement by Agriculture Ministry said, “This import suspension is a quarantine measure to prevent the HPAI virus from entering the country.”
According to the ministry, as many as 18 nations including South Korea had been hit by the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus in 2014. But South Korea has so far no reported any human cases.
H5N2 and H5N8, both strains of avian influenza, have been confirmed in the wild birds found in Washington state near the US-Canada border. The US agriculture officials, however, said that there was no immediate cause for public health risks in the state.
The officials also said neither H5N2 nor H5N8 has been found in the US commercial poultry.
The imports of South Korea from the US in the first 11 months of this year included 264,000 poultry chicks and 63,245 tonnes of poultry meat, according to the ministry figures.
The ministry further said that the suspension of imports of poultry products would not cause any shortage in the country as domestic poultry meat supply is expected to increase by 17.5 percent to 67,000 tonnes in December from a year earlier on top of 9,000 tonnes in inventory.