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Asian nations restrict U.S. poultry imports over bird flu

Staff Writer |
South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong have limited imports of U.S. poultry after the United States detected its first case this year of avian flu on a commercial chicken farm.

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South Korea will ban imports of U.S. poultry and eggs after a strain of H7 bird flu virus was confirmed on Sunday at a chicken farm in Tennessee, South Korea's agriculture ministry said.

Japan and Taiwan will block poultry from the state, while Hong Kong will restrict imports from the Tennessee county where the infected flock was located, said James Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, a trade group.

The limits will reduce the potential for major U.S. chicken companies, such as Tyson Foods Inc and Pilgrim's Pride , to sell poultry overseas.

South Korea's import ban took effect on Monday, the agriculture ministry said in a statement. Live poultry and eggs are subject to the ban, while heat-treated chicken meat and egg products can still be imported, the statement noted.

South Korea, Asia's fourth-largest economy, has been importing eggs from the United States as its worst-ever bird flu, or avian influenza (AI), outbreak has tightened the country's egg supplies.

The latest moves do not affect China, which introduced a ban on imports of U.S. poultry and eggs in late 2015.

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