STC Number - 124

Notifications related to avian influenza

Maintained by: Unspecified
Raised by: United States of America
Supported by:
First date raised: March 2002 G/SPS/R/26 paras. 63-66
Dates subsequently raised:
Number of times subsequently raised: 0
Relevant documents: Raised orally
Products covered: 02 Meat and edible meat offal; 0207 Meat and edible offal, of the poultry of heading 01.05, fresh, chilled or frozen.
Primary subject keyword: Animal Health
Keywords: Animal health; Human health; International Standards / Harmonization; Zoonoses; Avian Influenza
Status: Not reported
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In March 2002, the United States noted that although international standards existed with regard to avian influenza, differences in the understanding and interpretation of these standards was resulting in unjustified trade barriers. The OIE considered highly pathogenic avian influenza as a List A disease, however low pathogenic strains were not considered to have any significant animal health or socio-economic consequences. However, some Members had restricted imports of poultry products from the United States, due to a strain of low pathogenic avian influenza in two poultry flocks in the state of Virginia. The United States requested that the OIE national and regional office take a pro-active role in advising their members on this matter.

Japan observed that there was a possibility of variation in the strains, with a case of a low pathogenic strain causing an outbreak that later varied to a high pathogenic strain. Japan had provided scientific evidence in this regard to the United States, and believed that its measure was fully justified. Japanese officials would meet shortly with their US counterparts to examine the measures taken by the United States in response to the outbreak.

The OIE confirmed that the OIE Animal Health Code referred to highly pathogenic or virulent avian influenza; most strains of avian influenza were of low pathogenicity and did not cause economic effects. However, the OIE Manual of Standards also made reference to low pathogenicity viruses in laboratory tests through mutation showing highly pathogenic effects in the field. The OIE was working on a definition to include such viruses.

The Philippines added that the OIE Manual also included some text related to low pathogenic strains. Even these strains could cause clinical disease and problems.