South Africa, Algeria, Vietnam, South Korea, Kosovo, Bosnia and Macedonia have immediately closed their borders to chicken products from the Netherlands. Cuba will probably do that. This happened after bird flu was diagnosed yesterday at a chicken farm in Altforst, Gelderland.
Gert-Jan Oplaat of the Association of the Dutch Poultry Processing Industry was already afraid that the outbreak will have major consequences for Dutch exports. “There are always countries that immediately lock the borders for us.” He already calculates the export damage at around 100 million euros.
Officially, products from outside the closed zone around Altforst (of 10 kilometers) may still be exported, but certain countries do not want to take any risks. “Countries such as Serbia and Ukraine, for example, accept the closure of a zone in our country. They therefore accept, for example, chickens that have been processed in Friesland. But other countries say: The Netherlands is so small, we don’t want anything at all.”
The chicken wings and walking legs are mainly exported to these countries. Oplaat: “We don’t eat them. We are mainly fillet eaters, but in countries such as Vietnam and South Korea those legs are a delicacy.”
Farm is isolated
This morning at 7 a.m. a start was made in Altforst with the culling of the 36,000 dead chickens. “After that, everything is cleaned and the company is shut down for two months”, says spokesman Benno Bruggink of the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority. “After those two months, new chickens may be brought in again.”
Until this afternoon there were no new reports of infections. Bruggink: “We are lucky that the affected farm is rather isolated. There is nothing in the vicinity of a kilometer, so the virus has to work hard to cause damage elsewhere. In Barneveld – with many companies together – it would be be a different story. “
A transport ban applies to poultry farmers within a radius of ten kilometers. Farms within a radius of three kilometers are checked for avian flu.
The affected company in Altforst could not be reached by phone this afternoon.