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EU lifts bird flu ban on S.Africa ostrich imports

by 5m Editor
21 November 2005, at 12:00a.m.

SOUTH AFRICA - The European Union has lifted its import ban on ostriches and their meat from South Africa and is satisfied that avian influenza is no longer present in the country, the EU's Official Journal said on Friday.

EU lifts bird flu ban on S.Africa ostrich imports - SOUTH AFRICA - The European Union has lifted its import ban on ostriches and their meat from South Africa and is satisfied that avian influenza is no longer present in the country, the EU's Official Journal said on Friday.

South Africa declared itself free of bird flu in September and then sent a final report on its animal health situation to the European Commission, asking the EU to lift its import ban.

"The information contained in the final report shows clearly that the outbreak in the Republic of South Africa has been contained and that the disease is no longer present in the country," the Journal said in its latest edition.

"The protection measures in respect of the Republic of South Africa are therefore no longer necessary," it said.

In August 2004 EU vets imposed a six-month ban on ratites -- flightless birds such as ostrich, emu and rhea -- from South Africa. The ban also applied to the animals' eggs, meat and meat products, as well as pet birds, and was extended several times.

South Africa said the disease outbreak on its ostrich farms was the H5N2 strain of bird flu, dangerous for birds but different to the H5N1 strain that has killed people in Asia.

At least 15,000 ostriches were slaughtered in an effort to contain the highly contagious disease.

When fully grown, ostriches are the largest birds in the world. They are mostly used for their meat and feathers, as well as to make oil and leather.

Source: Reuters - 18th November 2005

5m Editor