+ A

Gov’t bans imports of chicken, eggs from U.S.

Mar 07,2017
Korea is banning imports of live fowl, raw chicken meat and fresh eggs from the United States after the U.S. confirmed a case of highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza (AI) at a commercial farm in Tennessee Sunday.

According to the Agriculture Ministry Monday, the H7 type of AI virus struck a farm with than 73,500 birds in Tennessee last week. The U.S. government confirmed the virus Sunday.

Korea not only imports raw chicken meat from the U.S. but also chickens to be raised to lay eggs. The government said it will ban imports of live poultry, including chickens and ducks, raw poultry meat and fresh eggs. It will continue to allow imports of processed meats and eggs.

“The AI virus is occurring in various countries this year and we urge Korean tourists to stay away from poultry farms and not have contact with poultry when traveling abroad,” said Chung Byeong-gon, a director at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Korea’s chicken industry was hit hard by AI virus outbreaks last year and price hikes of chicken-related products are likely after the ban. The United States was one of the few countries the Korean government allowed such imported products from.

“We wanted to buy many baby chickens this year for laying purposes but it appears that we won’t be able to import as many as we expected due to the AI virus,” said an official at the Agriculture Ministry. The government’s goal was to increase the number of layer chickens since that has a direct impact on local egg prices.

The government killed 33.8 million birds since AI hit the country late last year. Chickens accounted for 83.6 percent of the total.

According to the Agriculture Ministry, Korea is now only able to import chicken meat from six countries, including Brazil, Chile and Australia. When it comes to fresh eggs, Korea can import from three countries: New Zealand, Australia and Canada. Korea imported large amounts of eggs from European countries in the past. The government banned imports from them after the AI virus spread earlier this year.

In 2016, Korea imported 9,721 tons of poultry meat from the U.S., accounting for 9 percent of all poultry meat imported. The United States was the second largest exporter of poultry products to the country. Brazil was the first with 89,789 tons, accounting for 82.9 percent of the total.


BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]