Japan Joins Russia In Lifting Ban On Arkansas Poultry

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Japan this month joined Russia and a U.S. state in lifting its ban on Arkansas poultry and poultry products, a state official said.

Russia, Japan, China, Turkey, Hong Kong and in the U.S., Mississippi and Georgia, banned Arkansas poultry and poultry products after a strain of avian influenza was found at a Scott County farm in June, said Preston Scroggin, director of the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission.

However, Russia and Mississippi began accepting Arkansas poultry and poultry products earlier this month, and now Japan also is accepting Arkansas poultry and poultry products again, Scroggin said Friday (Oct. 25).

Dr. Brandon Doss, also of the state Livestock and Poultry Commission, said Georgia and the other countries besides China were expected to end their bans on Oct. 24, or 90 days after the July 24 cleaning and disinfecting of the Scott County farm where bird flu was discovered in June. He said it is unclear when China might end its ban.

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., said in the summer that China is “being unfair” by banning poultry from all of Arkansas over an isolated incident.

“Our products are safe, healthy, and nutritious,” he said in a prepared statement. “I’ll be working with food safety and trade officials to resolve this issue as quickly as possible and reopen this market for our farmers. In the meantime, my family and I will continue to eat Arkansas poultry, and I know others in our state will do the same.”

The state Livestock and Poultry Commission received confirmation of the positive test on June 18 and quarantined all poultry within a 6.2-mile radius of the Scott County chicken house facility where the infected bird was located, according to Gov. Mike Beebe’s office.

Scroggin said 18 chickens from that farm in Boles were found to have Avian Influenza, commonly known as bird flu. Those birds were killed, as were 9,000 other chickens that were destroyed in the area as a precaution. He said the bird flu incident was isolated to one farm.

In June, Scroggin said the state completed its follow-up testing of chickens in Scott County and found no new evidence bird flu.

“We feel real good where we’re at. We think we got it,” Scroggin told 5NEWS. “For all intents and purposes, we’re done with our testing.”

Scroggin said the follow-up testing ended July 8-9 on about 10 commercial chicken houses and 52 “backyard flocks,” with none turning up any evidence of bird flu.