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Hungary’s new bird flu cases made Romania, Serbia suspend poultry imports - extended

European Union member countries must not introduce a full ban on poultry imports from Hungary in the wake of an outbreak of bird flu at a farm in southeastern Hungary, an EU standing committee decided on Friday. 

The Brussels Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCFCAH) followed the European Commission's opinion and approved the measures introduced by Hungary against the outbreak. The committee decided that the measures were in full compliance with those included in the guidelines against bird flu and no further restrictions were justified in member countries, spokesman Philip Tod said. Romanian authorities said they were considering a ban pending the Brussels decision but would follow its guidance. Serbia and Croatia have already imposed bans on Hungarian poultry.

Serbia and Romania have suspended imports of Hungarian poultry because of an outbreak of bird flu on a farm there, the two countries' agriculture ministries said on Thursday. Hungarian animal health officials have culled some 3,300 geese suspected to have been infected with avian flu at a farm in southeastern Hungary.

Hungary sent the necessary samples to an EU lab in the UK to confirm the results, it said. „It is crucial that countries themselves step up their surveillance, detection and rapid response measures,” Juan Lubroth, senior officer of the United Nations agency: Food and Agriculture Organization's animal health service, in a statement on Wednesday. Croatia banned poultry imports from Hungary earlier in the week.

A Thursday press release of the European Commission confirmed a statement by Hungary's Agriculture Ministry that Hungarian animal health authorities had taken all necessary preventive measures and had informed all of neighboring countries as well as international authorities of the outbreak. (Bloomberg)