Commerce: Thai poultry ‘bird flu-free’

The rumour spreading on social networks that a bird flu epidemic was occuring at poultry farms in Thailand was totally baseless, Panjit Pissawong, deputy director general of the Foreign Trade Department at the Commerce Ministry, said on Wednesday.

Ms Panjit said her department had double-checked with the Livestock Department and the Poultry for Export  Producers Association and it was confirmed that the rumour was groundless and that there was no epidemic of the H5N1 bird flu strain as was being claimed.

The Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry had been successful in preventing a bird flu epidemic in Thailand since 2008. The ministry had in place safety measures acceptable to the international community, she said.

Several countries which had banned imports of Thai frozen chicken since 2004, the year that avian flu hit Thailand, had since reopened their doors for Thai poultry produce. They included Russia, South Africa, Malaysia, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Singapore, the European Union and Japan, she said.

In 2012, a total of 560,653 tonnes of chicken meat and chicken products, with the value of 69.72 billion baht,  were shipped to foreign countries, Ms Panjit said.

In the first 11 months of 2013 (Jan-Nov), 502,802 tonnes of the poultry meat and products worth 64.49 billion baht were exported. It is expected that total Thai chicken exports for 2013 would be around 650,000 tones, with a total value of about 80 billion baht, she said.

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