Agri Ministry says poultry safe to consume

-raps Trinidad for `excessive' response to reports of Duck Hepatitis Virus

The Ministry of Agriculture today said that it is safe to consume all poultry products following concerns that had arisen here over the deaths of Muscovy ducklings due to suspected Duck Hepatitis Virus.

Breaking its silence following days of concern, the ministry also said that an advisory by Trinidad and Tobago banning the importation of poultry products from Guyana was premature and excessive.

A statement by the ministry follows:

Duck Mortality Disease

The Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) has observed that the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries of Trinidad and Tobago has issued an advisory banning the importation of poultry, raw and cooked, from entering into the island from Guyana. The GLDA considers this advisory to be ill-advised as neither the sale, nor consumption, of poultry meat poses any health risks.

The GLDA wishes to assure the general public that the issue with the duck disease, which has been suspected to be, but has not been confirmed as, Duck Hepatitis Virus, has been contained and restricted to six duck farms on the coast of Guyana.  Measures implemented, including the closure of our hatchery, the only one in Guyana that hatches duck eggs commercially, have assisted in containing the disease.  The disease has not manifested itself in the other poultry sectors chicken, turkey and Guinea bird, and has only been observed in ducklings between the ages of 3 to 15 days old.

The Ministry of Agriculture wishes to assure the general public that it is safe to consume all poultry products. While a disease incidence report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) may elicit a country response, we are disappointed at the premature and excessive response of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries of Trinidad and Tobago which has placed a ban on all poultry products, raw and cooked, coming from Guyana.

The GLDA continues to perform and uphold its responsibility and mandate to provide wholesome meat and meat products to the consuming public.

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