The government announced Tuesday that the import of live poultry will be resumed tomorrow and they will be back on sale in markets on Friday.
The Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) held a press conference about the resumption of poultry imports, co-hosted by IACM Administration Committee Acting Chairman Alex Vong Iao Lek, Committee Member Ung Sau Hong, Food and Animal Inspection and Control Department Head Albino de Campos Pereira and Food Inspection Division Head José Ernesto Paula at the Public Services Centre in Taipa run by the bureau.
The three-week ban on importing live poultry began on March 13 after the bureau announced that it had detected the H7-type avian flu virus in sample tests of 1,000 live chickens that were imported from a farm in Zhuhai’s Doumen district.
According to Ung, poultry will not be imported from this farm for the time being. She said that birds will only be imported from two registered poultry farms which are not in Doumen.
Ung said most of poultry will be imported from Zhuhai, with just a few coming from farms in Zhongshan and a number of other cities in Guangdong.
Vong said that after suspending the import of poultry, the bureau had discussions with the Zhuhai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau on how to improve the detection of the avian flu virus and how to more effectively prevent its spread. Vong said the discussions also included how to better inform each other about possible infections.
Vong also said bureau staffers inspected poultry farms which are registered to provide Macau with poultry in Zhuhai at the end of last month.
Ung said that the bureau will take more samples from live poultry in the wholesale market in Ilha Verde. According to Ung, before the import ban IACM officials tested about 60 live poultry every day. She said once the import ban is lifted the bureau will test about 100 birds a day.
According to Ung, routine cleaning and disinfection will be conducted in all retail poultry stalls in the wet markets every day, while a thorough disinfection will be conducted every two weeks. Ung said that in order to more effectively reduce the risk of the avian flu spreading, thorough disinfections will be conducted in wet and wholesale markets on the same day every fortnight.
Ung said the same-day disinfection will ensure as much as possible that the avian flu virus will not be spread between the wholesale and wet markets. “For instance, today a thorough disinfection has been carried out in the wet markets, but on the same day when there are still live chickens in the wholesale market, it is possible the avian flu virus is still there”, she said.
Nam Yue Wholesale Market Company Ltd Executive Deputy General Manager Tony Chen Wei said that for the time being the number of live chicken imports will be about 10 percent less than before the ban.
According to Chen, before the import of chickens was banned, Macau imported 7,000 to 8,000 live chickens from the mainland every day.(macaunews/macaupost)