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Hungary free of bird flu, says chief vet

Hungary is entirely clear of bird flu, Chief Veterinarian Miklós Süth said on Monday.

The disease made its appearance in January and 3,300 geese were culled on a farm near Szentes, southeast Hungary, after 40 of the birds showed symptoms of bird flu. The European Union's reference laboratory in Britain afterwards confirmed that the birds had been infected with the deadly H5N1 strain. The successful elimination of the disease was due to the swift response of the authorities, fewer fowl than normal during the winter and the improved co-operation of local residents, said Süth. He said veterinary authorities would carry out some 9,000-10,000 inspections across the country prior to the Easter holidays, checking food retail chains, fowl farms and food processing plants. Süth also said they plan to propose in Parliament in the H2 of the year changes in legislation for stricter sanctions against businesses, which do not have appropriate documentation on the origin of their products. Proposed sanctions would include suspension the business' operations for up to one year. (Bloomberg)