Secretary for Administration and Justice Sonia Chan Hoi Fan said on Tuesday that the government has not yet come up with a timetable to resume the sale of live poultry until it can confirm that the potentially fatal bird flu does not pose a threat to consumers.
Asked by reporters, after a committee meeting at the legislature, when the ban on selling live poultry will end, Chan said the government needed to discuss the issue with mainland authorities. “It depends on the result of the inspection [of live poultry],” Chan said.
All of Macau’s live poultry – chickens and pigeons – are imported from the mainland.
Chan said the government would “seriously” consider speeding up the replacement of live with chilled poultry in the city’s wet markets.
According to Chan, the reason why no timetable has been given after a survey conducted last year by the government on replacing live birds with chilled ones was because many residents are used to buying fresh poultry.
The government announced that all sales of live poultry would be stopped for at least three days from that day after discovering the H7 strain of the avian influenza virus (AIV) in a chicken sample at the Nam Yue Wholesale Market. It was the second time that live poultry sales were suspended because of the bird flu menace.
Live poultry sales were also temporarily banned in June and December last year because of the H7 avian influenza virus (AIV).