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Saudi Arabia bans import of poultry meat from Ontario, Canada

By Karen Graham     Apr 29, 2015 in Business
Saudi Arabia, the world's second largest importer of chicken meat and eggs, has banned the import of those products from Ontario Province, Canada because of an avian flu outbreak on three farms.
Patrick Girard, a spokesman for Canada’s agriculture and agri-food department, on Wednesday said the market was worth C$825,000 ($990,000) in 2014, and represented about 0.4 percent of the province's exports.
The Saudi Food and Drug Authority said on Wednesday the temporary ban would continue in effect until the situation in Canada has returned to normal. On March 29, the Food and Drug Authority announced a ban on live chickens from the United States
The Saudi government imposed a similar ban on chicken imports from Thailand on March 10. According to CiHan News in Riyadh, there are now 29 farms in Ontario under quarantine following the confirmation of the H5N1 virus on one turkey farm in the province.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has said earlier that Hong Kong, Uruguay, Japan and Taiwan have issued temporary bans because of the avian flu outbreak. The deadly and highly contagious H5N2 avian bird flu, besides being identified in the province of Ontario was also discovered in December in British Columbia.
The H5N2 strain has spread through the Midwestern United States, hitting poultry producers in Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin.
Another strain of the avian bird flu, H5N8, has now been identified in California and Idaho, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Earlier this month, Mexico, the biggest importer of U.S. chickens, halted the import of live chickens and eggs from Iowa. On April 21, Digital Journal reported Iowa was in the midst of the biggest single outbreak of the avian bird flu this season.
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