UAE bans import of birds, poultry from Kuwait following bird flu outbreak

Only thermally-treated poultry products (meat and eggs) have been cleared for import from Kuwait

The UAE has banned the import of all birds and poultry from Kuwait after the outbreak of a highly contagious strain of bird flu (H5N8) in the GCC state.

The UAE’s ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) confirmed on Thursday that the decision was based on a notification from the Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases.

All species of domestic and wild live birds, ornamental birds, chicks, hatching and table eggs, poultry meat, and their non-heat-treated by-products and waste from Kuwait have been banned until the outbreak is brought under control, the ministry said.

However, thermally-treated poultry products (meat and eggs) have been cleared for import from Kuwait.

Sheikh Dr Majid Sultan Al Qassimi, director of Animal Health and Development Department at MOCCAE, said: “Through taking immediate precautionary measures to curb any strains of the bird flu virus that has affected Kuwait from reaching the UAE, MOCCAE hopes to ensure bio-security levels and prevent the spread of pathogens in the country.

“We are confident such efforts will mitigate the impact of the bird flu on the UAE’s poultry health and safety, in addition to protecting public health and well-being.”

The ministry is carefully scrutinising documentation accompanying consignments (certificate of origin, health certificate and halal certifications, among others) of food products shipped into the country, it said.

It is also conducting sensory detection to ensure that the quality of the products – as per their identification cards – complies with the UAE’s stringent standards.

Samples of food products from shipments are transferred to laboratories for the necessary tests to ensure they are safe and fit to enter the country.

According to the latest report from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), a total of 68 countries worldwide have been affected by avian influenza in domestic birds between January 2013 and August 2018. In total, 7,122 outbreaks have been reported in domestic birds during the period.

Earlier this year, the UAE also banned the import of poultry, meat and live birds from parts of Russia, following the outbreak of the H5N2 strain of bird flu in the country.

Read: UAE bans import of poultry, meats from parts of Russia on bird flu fears