The European Union has suspended imports of poultry meat from Ukraine, following an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza, that has so far resulted in the cull of 98,000 birds.
The outbreak was confirmed in the Vinnytsia region of Ukraine, a major poultry producing area that is home to MHP, the largest poultry producer in the country that exports large volumes of poultry to the EU.
A spokesperson for MHP said it was “undertaking all necessary measures to prevent potential outbreaks at all MHP’s poultry production sites. We are also assisting all poultry producers, mainly egg layers, in the Vinnytsia region strengthening their biosecurity.”
Exports to the EU were suspended on 22 January on the advice of the EU’s director general for health and food safety, who cited Article 9 of Regulation (EC) No 798/2008. Until the country is certified free of avian influenza, the Ukrainian Veterinary authorities can no longer certify poultry imports into the EU.
“MHP continues to operate as usual, commencing all necessary steps as it is dictated in its export diversification strategy, which has been enacted by the Management,” said a spokesperson in a statement. “MHP continues to adhere to the best available quality and biosecurity standards and sells its products both locally and to countries, where the export ban is not applicable.
“Currently, the State Veterinary authorities of Ukraine are in close cooperation with EU authorities in order to agree on and undertake all steps necessary to resolve this issue and to finally agree on compartmentation, which has not been ratified officially.”
Ukrainian officials are attempting to re-open trade routes as soon as possible. Writing on Facebook, the Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture, Taras Kachka, said the EU decision to suspend poultry meat imports from Ukraine was premature.
“The EU decision to restrict the import of poultry meat due to the case of bird flu in Vinnytsia region is much stricter than it should be. Nevertheless, we are actively and jointly working to quickly adjust this decision,” he wrote.