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EU lifts four-year fresh ostrich meat ban from SA

| Legislation

The European Union (EU) has lifted a four-year ban on the import of fresh ostrich meat from SA following an outbreak of H5N2 avian flu, the country’s main exporting region said.

The 2011 outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza strain hit the R1bn industry, which exports meat, leather and feathers to its main EU market.

The industry has recovered slightly with the export of processed or preheated meat.

"Resuming exports to the EU will play an important role in increasing the number of jobs in this industry, which currently employs over 50,000 residents," Western Cape economic opportunities MEC Alan Winde said.

About 10,000 ostriches were culled in the Klein Karoo and southern Cape regions in 2011, where the industry is concentrated, after diseased birds were detected in the area.

Outbreaks of avian flu has affected several countries in the recent past, including China, France and the US, and is a health concern because certain virulent strains are deadly to humans.

South African Ostrich Business Chamber chairman Francois de Wet said the country had improved its biosecurity measures, such as chlorinating water and restricting movement of the birds, after the outbreak four years ago.

Mr de Wet said SA was expected to resume fresh meat exports to the EU after August 26.


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