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Japan Suspends Imports of French Products

by 5m Editor
4 February 2009, at 8:36am

JAPAN - Japan has suspended imports of raw foie gras and poultry from France after an outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza there.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports that Japan has suspended imports of raw foie gras and poultry from France after an outbreak of bird flu there, a farm ministry official said today.

Tokyo suspended imports of chicks and poultry meat on Tuesday after French officials informed Japan of an outbreak of the H5 strain of bird flu at a duck farm in western Vendee province.

"While France is a major exporter of foie gras, Japanese restaurants and consumers will try to make up for it by importing from other countries," the official said.

Japan bought 404 tonnes of uncooked foie gras in 2008, the official said. Canned foie gras is not affected by the suspension.

Foie gras – literally, fatty liver – is typically made by forcing metal pipes down the throats of geese and ducks to feed them so their livers expand.

Japan banned French poultry imports for several months in 2006 after an outbreak of the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus among wild ducks in France, causing alarm among French chefs in Tokyo, the AFP report concludes.