Sri Lanka Bans Import of Live Birds from India

by VR Sreeraman on Jul 28 2007 6:21 PM

Sri Lanka Bans Import of Live Birds from India
Sri Lanka on Saturday banned imports of live birds and chickens from India following an outbreak of bird flu in the neighbouring country, an official said.
"Sri Lanka has banned imports with immediate effect, after we received reports of an outbreak of bird flu in Manipur, India," said D.D. Wanasinghe, president of the All Island Poultry Association.

Sri Lanka, which has had no reported cases of the H5N1 virus, also imports a large quantity of maize from India.

"The government has not made a decision to ban Indian maize so far. India supplies 90 percent of our maize requirements. The health ministry told us that they would take a decision shortly," Wanasinghe told AFP.

Foodstuffs such as maize and soya, which Sri Lanka also imports from India, carry a risk of infection because they are grown in fields where chickens live, and crops and packing bags can come in contact with fowl excrement, he said.

Colombo's decision came after India reported that the Manipur government had ordered the culling of thousands of birds.

Sri Lanka has already lifted the ban on imports of birds and chicken flesh from the US and Australia, but not from Britain, he said.

The island nation produces between 11 million and 12 million chickens a year, according to Wanasinghe. Sri Lanka imports poultry mainly for food processing to make sausages that are packaged and sold in supermarkets.


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