Live chicken imports to increase for Lunar New Year
At the request of traders, live chicken imports from the Mainland will be increased for a short period preceding the Lunar New Year, after assessing the latest situation of avian influenza and balancing the festive demand for live chickens, a spokesman for the Health, Welfare and Food Bureau said today (January 22). The ceiling of the daily live chicken imports from the Mainland will be increased from 20,000 to 60,000 from February 10 to 13 and to 80,000 from February 14 to 16.
(Media-Newswire.com) - At the request of traders, live chicken imports from the Mainland will be increased for a short period preceding the Lunar New Year, after assessing the latest situation of avian influenza and balancing the festive demand for live chickens, a spokesman for the Health, Welfare and Food Bureau said today ( January 22 ).
The ceiling of the daily live chicken imports from the Mainland will be increased from 20,000 to 60,000 from February 10 to 13 and to 80,000 from February 14 to 16. The ceiling for daily live chicken imports will return to 20,000 starting from February 20 after the holidays of poultry wholesalers and market rest days.
"Our decision has taken into account a basket of factors, including a decrease in supply of local chickens, the risk of avian influenza in the region as well as the higher demand for live chickens during the Lunar New Year. We believe this could balance the actual demand for live chickens and the risk of avian influenza and at the same time maintain a stable price for live chickens.
"The quantity of live chicken imports announced today is merely the upper limit. Traders should import live chickens within this limit according to their actual need based on the sales situation. The trade has agreed to abide by their previous pledge to prevent overstocking of live chickens in the markets. In this regard, the trade had a good track record.
"The Administration will pay extra attention to the hygiene of live poultry wholesale market and retail outlets and any overstocking of live poultry. Suitable adjustments will be made in accordance with the actual situation in the markets if necessary," the spokesman added.
The spokesman stressed that if human or poultry avian influenza infection were found in Guangdong or Hong Kong prior to or during this period, the Government would immediately suspend the above-mentioned live chicken import arrangement.
To reduce the risk of avian influenza, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and the Hong Kong Customs will vigorously crack down on smuggling of live birds during the Lunar New Year to prevent live birds from coming to Hong Kong through improper channels, the spokesman said.
He reiterated that under the Public Health ( Animals and Birds ) Ordinance and the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance, any person who illegally brings into Hong Kong any birds or poultry meat will be subject to a maximum penalty of a fine of $25,000 and $50,000 and six months' imprisonment respectively. The poultry and meat will be confiscated as well.
The spokesman reminded the trade and the public to continue to strictly observe the following preventive measures against avian influenza during the period when live chicken imports are increased:
For the live poultry trade:
* Do not overstock live poultry; * Wear plastic gloves when handling poultry; and * Thoroughly clean and disinfect the stalls after business every day.
For members of the public:
* Do not touch live poultry; * Wash hands frequently; * Thoroughly cook poultry and eggs before eating; and * Do not bring any poultry or meat products into the territory unless it is authorised or accompanied with a health certificate.
This story was released on 2007-01-23. Please make sure to visit the official company or organization web site to learn more about the original release date. See our disclaimer for additional information.