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Malaysia wants its poultry declared bird flu-free

by 5m Editor
21 September 2005, at 12:00am

MALAYSIA - Malaysia wants the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to declare its poultry free of bird flu and safe for human consumption, state news agency Bernama said.

Malaysia wants its poultry declared bird flu-free - MALAYSIA - Malaysia wants the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to declare its poultry free of bird flu and safe for human consumption, state news agency Bernama said.

Many countries were reluctant to import Malaysian poultry acknowledged as safe by U.N. bodies such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Health Organisation, Bernama reported late on Tuesday.

Agriculture Minister Muhyiddin Yassin told the agency that except for Singapore, other importers appeared to have doubts about the safety of Malaysian poultry products.

"We want the OIE to inform the importing countries that Malaysia's measures in controlling bird flu were most transparent," Benama quoted Muhyiddin as saying.

OIE is the acronym for the French name of the animal health organisation, based in Paris.

In Indonesia, a five-year-old girl admitted to hospital with symptoms of bird flu died on Wednesday, a hospital doctor said.

Four Indonesians are already confirmed to have died from the highly pathogenic strain of H5N1 flu, which has killed 64 people in four Asian countries since late 2003 and has spread to Russia and Europe.

Malaysia has not had any human infections of avian influenza, despite culling thousands of birds a year ago, after the death of two infected chickens near its border with Thailand.

But the chief of Malaysia's veterinary service said on Tuesday the country was on heightened bird flu watch after new human infections in Indonesia this week.

Farms near migratory bird sanctuaries were under tight scrutiny and tougher checks were being imposed on birds imported as pets, the veterinary chief had said.

Muhyiddin said the government was doing all it could. "The system of controls along the border with Thailand is still in force; policemen are still stationed there to ensure there is no smuggling in of chicken from neighbouring countries," he said.

Shares of local poultry and egg producers such as as Leong Hup Holdings and Comsa Farms were down for a second straight day -- falling 1.7 and 2.6 percent, respectively, in Wednesday's early trade -- on fears of the virus returning.

Malaysia's 25 million people are among the world's largest consumers of chicken, eating about 30 kg (68 lb) each a year.

Source: Reuters - 21st September 2005

5m Editor