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South Korea to suspend imports of French poultry, birds

South Korea to suspend imports of French poultry, birds

SEOUL: South Korea will suspend imports of French poultry and live birds after the country reported an outbreak of avian influenza (AI), the government said Thursday. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said the actions, which go into effect immediately, are in reaction to the European Commission confirming birds at a small chicken farm in Dordogne were infected with the virulent H5N1 strain of bird flu.

The commission ordered all 32 birds at the farm in south-central France to be culled and called for close monitoring of all neighboring poultry farms within a 10-kilometer radius.

“All meat products, live birds, that include pets, and even eggs will be affected, although processed foods that have been treated with heat are exempt,” the ministry said. South Korea imported 1 ton of duck meat, 13 tons of foie gras, 844,000 chicks and 41,000 ducklings from France during the January-October period.

The ministry said people visiting France should avoid going to poultry farms and should not bring back meat products. Besides France, it said some 27 countries in Asia, Europe, North America, Africa and Middle East reported AI outbreaks this year. Amid the latest ban, Asia’s fourth-largest economy is coping with a string of flu outbreaks in the southwestern region of the country.