UAE bans poultry products from Bulgaria over bird flu fears

Imports of thermally treated poultry products will be allowed from the European country



The UAE has banned the import of all poultry products from Bulgaria over concerns about bird flu.

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment has prohibited the import of all types of live domestic and wild birds, ornamental birds, chicks, and hatching eggs and their thermally un-treated products from the European country.

The move is based on a notification from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) about the registration of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Bulgaria, said Majid Sultan Al Qasimi, director of Animal Health and Development Department at the Ministry.

In a report on October 22, the OIE said that the H5 strain of the aviation flu had been reported in two provinces – Dobrich and Haskovo, with a total of 502 cases detected (animals killed).

The ministry has banned the import of poultry meat and thermally untreated products and table eggs from the affected provinces, but has allowed imports from disease-free areas, located at a radius of at least 25kms from the affected farm that includes an export health certificate.

Imports of thermally treated poultry products and thermally treated poultry waste from across Bulgaria will also be allowed.

The ministry has said it will also permit the entry of imports prior to September 25 of thermally untreated products and table eggs from the affected province.

Avian influenza strains have been spreading throughout the world – as of the latest OIE situation report issued on September 18, 31 countries were affected by the flu.

The UAE has been very stringent in banning imports of poultry from the affected countries.

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment said it is “constantly working to develop the necessary policies, strategies and legislation to ensure food safety throughout the food chain and regulate trade activities to enhance food security”. It also regulates food handling activities including import, export and re-export.

When a shipment of food products is received by the authorities in the country, the documents accompanying the consignments, including the certificate of origin, health certificate and other required certificates, including Halal certification, are strictly verified, a statement said.

Authorities also screen the product identification cards to make sure they comply with the required standards and also examine samples of the food products through necessary laboratory tests to ensure that they are free from harmful substances or contaminants.