THE PHILIPPINES has issued a temporary ban on poultry imports from parts of Denmark, the Netherlands, and France after outbreaks of the H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus.

In three separate memorandum orders, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar suspended the imports of domestic and wild birds and their products including poultry meat, day-old chicks, eggs, and semen from Randers, Denmark; Gelderland and Groningen in the Netherlands; and Haute-Corse, France.

The ban effectively suspends the processing, evaluation, and issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary imports clearances for such commodities.

Mr. Dar said Denmark reported its Randers outbreak among broiler poultry in a Nov. 17 report to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

The Netherlands reported its outbreak to the OIE on Nov. 7, 13 and 17.

France reported its Haute-Corse outbreak to the OIE on Nov. 16.

According to Jesus C. Cham, president of the Meat Importers and Traders Association, the bans are not expected to significantly affect meat imports.

He added that the three bans are “fine” as long as they are regionalized and not a blanket ban.

“New (import) orders will not arrive this year so it will be a problem for next year. However, as winter ends, bird flu should likewise diminish,” Mr. Cham said via mobile phone. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave