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US Suspends Poultry Imports from France Due to Nationwide Bird Flu Vaccination Effort, Adding Pressure to Global Supply Chains

 


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made a significant announcement that, as of October 1, it will halt all imports of poultry from France. This decision is a response to France's plan to conduct a nationwide vaccination campaign against bird flu, becoming the first country to initiate such a program. French authorities argue that this vaccination effort is crucial in combating the rapid spread of bird flu (H5N1), which has caused widespread bird losses over the past two years.

The USDA has explicitly stated that it prohibits poultry imports from countries dealing with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) or from flocks that have been vaccinated against the disease. The department's concern is that vaccinated birds may not show symptoms of the virus, making it challenging to detect within flocks.

This move has raised concerns within the industry. John Clifford, a trade policy advisor for the U.S. Poultry & Egg Export Council, expressed worries about the potential impact on the importation of chicks and hatching eggs from France for the breeding sector in the United States.

Additionally, the U.S. is seeking clarification from France regarding how it plans to monitor vaccinated flocks for any signs of illness. The USDA is also considering implementing similar restrictions on live ducks, duck eggs, and untreated duck products from other European countries, particularly those within the European Poultry Trade Zone.

The French Embassy in Washington has not provided an immediate comment on this decision.

This development occurs against the backdrop of a global increase in avian influenza cases, which has led to the loss of nearly 59 million poultry birds in the U.S. since 2022. This sudden shift in trade relations could further strain global poultry supply chains and exacerbate existing market uncertainties.

The evolving situation demands close attention, given its potential implications for public health and international trade.

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