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Poultry Meat Industry Free of Bird Flu in NZ

A comprehensive testing programme for notifiable avian influenza has clearly demonstrated that the New Zealand Poultry meat industry is free of the disease according// to Poultry Industry Association executive director Michael Brooks.

The testing programme has tested the presence of highly pathogenic notifiable avian influenza as well as low pathogenic notifiable avian influenza through the testing blood samples from thousands of poultry meat birds.

There was an internationally agreed level of statistical validity to which the tested numbers were required to meet. The testing program revealed that the NZ poulty meat industry was free from from both high and low pathogenic notifiable avian influenza. Birds can carry low pathogenic avian influenza with little or no impact on their health. Mr Brooks said, ‘We were always confident that our strict on-farm biosecurity and internal industry surveillance would ensure the poultry meat industry would be free of the disease.’

‘Now we have irrefutable proof.’

The testing program was carried out by Biosecurity New Zealand to meet new World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) reporting requirements as well as to show that New Zealand's commercial poultry meat was free from notifiable avian influenza.

New Zealand has been part of a global network for early warning and detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza. Mr Brooks said, "We have always maintained that the New Zealand poultry meat industry has a unique major poultry disease-free status, unparalleled in the rest of the world. This result further reinforces this belief, is a reflection of our commitment to biosecurity and is something the poultry meat industry can be justifiably proud of."

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