The Kingdom put a temporary ban on the import of poultry meat and eggs from Taiwan as a precautionary measure against Avian Flu, the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) said in Riyadh, on Sunday.
An official from the SFDA said the poultry meat and eggs from the Avian flu hit counties such as Taoyuan, Changhua, Pingtung and Chiayi in Taiwan will not be allowed into the Kingdom. However, the products from other places in Taiwan, which are thermally processed and supported with a certificate that the products are free of bird flu will be permitted for imports into the Kingdom, he said.
Confirming the ban, an official from the Tapei Economic and Cultural Office in Riyadh said that the ban is temporary and would be eased when the conditions return to normalcy.
Saudi Arabia is Taiwan’s 8th biggest partner in terms of trade volume. Last year, from January to November, Taiwan exported and imported a total of $288.2 million and $253 million to and from Saudi Arabia, respectively. Petroleum from Saudi Arabia remained the prime item of trade with Taiwan while building materials and consumer goods formed the bulk of Taiwan’s exports to Saudi Arabia.
New avian flu strains — H5N2 and H5N8 — have spread from waterfowl to chickens in Taiwan, which have infected chicken farms in Pingtung and Changhua counties of southern Taiwan, raising fears that the avian flu outbreak could get out of control.
Based on the latest data released by the Council of Agriculture in Taipei, 239 poultry farms have been infected since the outbreak on Jan 9. The number of poultry dead or culled climbed past 650,000 on Jan 19. As the outbreak continues to spread among chickens, geese and ducks, that number is fast approaching 1 million.
Geese are the worst affected, with more than 30 percent of the island’s total population infected. But the numbers of infected ducks and chickens so far remains under control.