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GCC to draw up action plan against bird flu

posted on 09/02/2006: 1560 views

The GCC ministers of health and agriculture agreed that they will draw up a uniform emergency action plan to tackle bird flu. The ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), meeting in Riyadh on Wednesday, also agreed to ban import of fowl, poultry meat, hatching eggs and fodder from countries infected by bird flu and those suspected of being infected.

They also agreed that imports of waterfowl, terrestrial and ornamental birds from across the world must be banned. "We agreed on collective, practical measures, including strengthening cooperation and technical assistance among GCC countries, to limit avian influenza at its source and prevent outbreaks," the ministers said in their final statement. The ministers also promised to boost surveillance and information-sharing and be open about reporting bird flu outbreaks.

The statement said liaison officers from ministries of health and agriculture in the member states will be appointed to exchange information on the disease. "Any suspected outbreak of the disease in any member state must be immediately informed to other member countries," the statement said.

The member states also agreed to put the technical and human potentials in each member states at the disposal of the remaining members when necessary. "GCC countries will continue to follow development of outbreaks all over the world and manufacturing of vaccines." The General Secretariat of Municipalities yesterday confirmed that chicken, poultry products and eggs in the local market are safe.

The move followed a joint meeting by the National Food Safety Committee and the Veterinary Control Committee, which recommended reassuring the public about the safety of poultry meat, eggs and products in the country's markets. Jasem Mohammad Darwish, Secretary General of the Municipalities, said local and imported poultry products and eggs are safe for the human consumption.

The implementation of hygienic rules at all shops selling live chicken will be made compulsory so as to ensure safety of the people, said Darwish. The media should also play an active role in increasing awareness among the public about the significance of making sure of the safety of poultry products being purchased, he added. (Gulf News)


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