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Agri dep’t lifts suspension on poultry imports from Brazil

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it lifted the suspension on poultry imports from Brazil, after Brazilian veterinary authorities submitted certifications requested by the Philippines.

In a memorandum order signed on Dec. 14, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said the DA was assured of the precautions taken at Brazilian processing plants against contamination with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In August, the DA barred the entry of poultry from Brazil after China found traces of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in chicken meat.

Mr. Dar said Brazil has given “satisfactory” evidence of safe handling at the processing plants.

“Brazil has provided evidence that the safety protocols enforced in different accredited meat establishments are equivalent to the guidelines established by the Philippines relative to the mitigating measures against COVID-19 in meat establishments,” Mr. Dar said.

Jesus C. Cham, president of the Meat Importers and Traders Association (MITA), said the ban’s lifting is a welcome development for the meat industry.

Mr. Cham expects the poultry supply from Brazil to normalize by the end of the first quarter of 2021.

“Both countries should now put this incident behind them and move forward,” Mr. Cham said in a mobile phone message.

In October, Brazil wrote to the Department of Foreign Affairs, calling the ban “unjustified” in the wake of the adoption of safety procedures.

The DA partially lifted the suspension on Brazilian poultry in September for mechanically deboned meat.

According to data from the Bureau of Animal Industry, Brazilian meat imports account for 16.1% or 121,952 metric tons of total meat imports.

Separately, the DA ordered the suspension of poultry imports from parts of Poland, Belgium, South Korea, the UK, and Japan due to reported outbreaks of two strains of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), or bird flu.

In five separate memorandum orders, Mr. Dar prohibited imports of domestic and wild birds and their products including meat, day-old chicks, eggs, and semen from Wielkopolskie, Poland, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, Jeollabuk-Do, South Korea, England, and multiple locations in Japan.

The ban also includes the suspension on the processing, evaluation, and issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances for all such products.

“There is a need to prevent the entry of HPAI virus to protect the health of the local poultry population,” Mr. Dar said.

MITA’s Mr. Cham said the regional bans may prolong the tight supply conditions here, but will not have much of an effect on the sector. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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