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China bans Arkansas poultry

7/31/2013 at 12:00 a.m.

Yesterday, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service informed Arkansas’ congressional delegation that China has stopped importing poultry from the state. The action stems from the detection, last month, of H7N7 Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza on a Scott County chicken farm.

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor (D) responded with the following statement: “This was an isolated incident, and China is being unfair by banning poultry imports from our entire state. Our products are safe, healthy, and nutritious. 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.”

Like Pryor said, the incident was isolated and immediately contained by response efforts. Upon detection, the Arkansas Livestock & Poultry Commission imposed a 90-day quarantine of all poultry within a 6.2-mile radius of where the infected birds were found. In addition, Tyson stepped up their biosecurity measures and euthanized the entire 9,000-head flock to which the infected birds belonged. All subsequent tests have come back negative.

“There’s absolutely nothing for consumers to be worried about,” said Travis Justice, Arkansas Farm Bureau livestock specialist. “The birds in question were part of a breeding flock and were never intended to be part of the meat supply. Furthermore, this episode shows just how well the system we have in place works. The sick birds were quickly identified, and the situation was isolated and contained. That's exactly how it's supposed to work.”

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