STC Number - 259

Avian influenza restrictions

Maintained by: China
Raised by: United States of America
Supported by:
First date raised: October 2007 G/SPS/R/46, paras. 14-15
Dates subsequently raised:
Number of times subsequently raised: 0
Relevant documents: Raised orally
Products covered: 0207 Meat and edible offal, of the poultry of heading 01.05, fresh, chilled or frozen.; 160232 -- Of fowls of the species Gallus domesticus
Primary subject keyword: Animal Health
Keywords: Animal health; Food safety; Human health; International Standards / Harmonization; Risk assessment; Sufficiency of scientific evidence; Zoonoses
Status: Not reported
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In October 2007, the United States observed that China prohibited imports of poultry and poultry products from seven US states (Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Nebraska and Virginia) which had experienced cases of low-pathogenic avian influenza (AI). For some of these states, the cases had been completely eradicated for more than two or three years. The prohibition extended even to heat-treated products, a process that inactivated the AI virus. There was no scientific justification for the restrictions China had imposed, which were inconsistent with the provision of the OIE's AI guidelines. The United States had provided China with extensive information of the AI status of these states, and urged China to lift its import restrictions immediately, and to align its measures with the provisions of the OIE guidelines.
China responded that the ban on poultry products from these states was based on risk analysis and on the principle of regionalization of the OIE. Since the beginning of the year, AI had appeared in three other states and China was concerned with the spreading tendency of low-pathogenic strains of AI in the United States. Regarding the four states where AI had already been eliminated, China was conducting a risk analysis based on the information provided by the United States. China had notified the United States on 15 August that according to the relevant Chinese regulations, poultry products coming either directly or indirectly from areas with AI were not allowed to enter China. Regarding heat-treated products, China invited the United States to provide relevant technical information, including processing techniques and flow charts of cooked poultry meat, so that China could undertake a risk analysis.